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Federal Highway Administration Research and Technology
Coordinating, Developing, and Delivering Highway Transportation Innovations

DCMF Program | DCMF Program Studies | ELCSI-PFS



Development of Crash Modification Factors (DCMF) Program


The mission of the DCMF program is to save lives by identifying new safety strategies that effectively reduce crashes and promote strategies for nationwide installation by providing measures of their safety effectiveness. State departments of transportation (DOTs) and other transportation agencies need to have objective measures of safety effectiveness before investing in new strategies for statewide safety improvements.

Statistical methodologies are heavily used for all studies performed under the DCMF program, but these methodologies have been borrowed from various statistical fields and have limitations in capability and applicability when used for highway safety research. Accordingly, the DCMF program aims to advance highway safety evaluations and related research by establishing a sound foundation for the development of highway transportation-specific statistical methodologies in cooperation with the American Statistical Association (ASA), The Statistical and Applied Mathematical Sciences Institute (SAMSI), the U.S. Census Bureau, and other scientific communities and government agencies.

There are 40 State DOTs that provide technical feedback on safety improvements to the DCMF program and implement new safety improvements to facilitate evaluations. These States are members of the Evaluation of Low-Cost Safety Improvements Pooled Fund Study (ELCSI-PFS), which functions under the DCMF program and was established by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) in 2004 to develop reliable estimates of the safety effectiveness of low-cost safety improvement strategies. The initial study included four phases, had 24 State participants, and evaluated 20 safety countermeasures in 5 years. Currently, this study has 40 member States and has evaluated more than 40 strategies. Under the DCMF program umbrella, the ELCSI-PFS will continue its evaluations through 2017.

Duration: The DCMF program is a comprehensive, long-term safety research effort. It started in November 2012 and will end in December 2017.

Goal: The goal of this effort is to identify crash modification factor (CMF) research needs, develop CMFs that meet the criteria for inclusion in the Highway Safety Manual (HSM), and promote installation of promising (low-, medium-, and high-cost) safety improvements as standard practice and to facilitate developing practical guides for implementation. This study will also address methodological issues with the development, application, and assessment of the quality of CMFs.

Objective: The DCMF program will:

  • Support the ELCSI–PFS efforts by complementing its research and enhancing quality of its evaluation products.

  • Work with ASA, SAMSI, the U.S. Census Bureau, and other scientific communities and government agencies to find new statistical methodologies and improve existing ones for highway safety evaluations.

  • 2016 Efforts:

    • FHWA worked with the Government Statistics Section (GSS) to sponsor a “Data Challenge 2016” for the ASA, Joint Statistical Meeting (JSM) 2016. The contest was open to any statistician who was interested in participating, including college students and professionals from the private or public sector. This contest challenged participants to analyze the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) General Estimate System (GES) highway crash dataset using statistical and visualization tools and methods. . Fifteen entries were  discussed in two sessions, and a poster session at the JSM 2016, was held in August 2016 in Chicago, IL. Four contestants were selected for best papers and won cash prices.

    • FHWA worked with GSS and the U.S. Census Bureau to identify Time Series methodology as a useful tool for identifying recurring patterns in crashes for short- to long-term highway safety improvement applications. 

    • FHWA worked with ASA to propose a two-week summer program to SAMSI on Statistical Issues in Highway Transportation, aimed at developing new mathematical and statistical theory for the analysis of data relevant to transportation. The intent is to hold this program during the summer of 2017. SAMSI has accepted FHWA’s proposal for this program. 

  • Communicate, outreach, and market the need for developing highway transportation specific to statistical methodologies (using highway crash and related data) to both statistical and highway safety communities.

  • Conduct CMF stakeholder meetings for feedback and sharing expertise and resources for State DOTs, the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), Transportation Research Board (TRB), National Cooperative Highway Research Program (NCHRP), and other stakeholders.

  • Conduct studies to identify CMF development research needs, address identified priority need when feasible, and other related efforts in cooperation with stakeholders.

  • Identify comprehensive high-priority safety concerns using innovative and relevant statistical methodologies and processes and procedures to analyze relevant national data resources for research.

Data Resources: The following national data resources may be used to conduct DCMF studies.

  • NHTSA Fatality Analysis Reporting System.

  • NHTSA National Automotive Sampling System General Estimates System.

  • NHTSA National Automotive Sampling System Crashworthiness Data System.

  • NHTSA National Automotive Sampling System National Motor Vehicle Crash Causation Survey.

  • NHTSA Crash Injury Research and Engineering Network. 

  • Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration Motor Carrier Management Information System. 

  • Federal Transit Administration National Transit Database. 

  • National Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Information System. 

  • Transportation Research Board Second Strategic Highway Research Program Naturalistic Driving Study and Roadway Inventory Database. 

  • National Park Service Service-Wide Traffic Accident Reporting System. 

  • Federal Highway Administration Highway Safety Information System (HSIS). 

  • State Departments of Transportation (not included in HSIS). 

  • National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration National Climatic Data Center. 

Methodology: The methodology used for each study will be determined by teams of statisticians working with DCMF.

Research Product: The final result of the DCMF program will be published by FHWA, and also will serve as a resource for the HSM and other technical publications.

For more information, contact:

Roya Amjadi, Research Highway Safety Specialist
Federal Highway Administration.
Office of Safety Research and Development
6300 Georgetown Pike, McLean, VA 22101
Phone: 202–493–3383, Fax: 202–493–3374
Email: roya.amjadi@dot.gov


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Turner-Fairbank Highway Research Center | 6300 Georgetown Pike | McLean, VA | 22101