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Transportation Performance Management

 

State Highway Safety Report (2019) - Massachusetts

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The following provides a summary of the Highway Safety Improvement Program’s (HSIP) safety performance measures and State safety performance targets. As per the Safety PM Final Rule, States are required to set annual safety performance targets in the HSIP annual report for the number of fatalities, rate of fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles traveled (VMT), number of serious injuries, rate of serious injures per 100 million VMT, and number of non-motorized fatalities and serious injuries. The safety performance targets are based on 5-year rolling averages. States have the flexibility to use the methodology they deem most appropriate. FHWA encourages States to review data sets and trends and consider factors that may affect targets. The safety performance targets should be data-driven, realistic, and attainable and should align with the performance management framework and legislative intent.

A State Department of Transportation (DOT) has met or made significant progress towards meeting its safety performance targets when at least four of the five safety performance targets established under 23 CFR 490.209(a) have been met or the actual outcome is better than the baseline performance. The baseline performance is the 5-year average ending with the year prior to the establishment of the target.

The Basis for Target and Additional Comments are provided by the State in their HSIP Annual Report and have not been edited by FHWA. Any questions about individual State reports should be directed to the respective State DOT. For additional information about each State's HSIP, the complete reports are available at https://safety.fhwa.dot.gov/hsip/reports/.

  • Number of Fatalities

  • Number of Fatalities 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020 2021
    Annual 351 354 344 387 347 355 334
    5-Year Average 356.6 357.4 353.4
    Target (5-Year Average) 353.0 347.0 339.0
  • Basis for Number of Fatalities Target

    Per FHWA guidance, our target setting process began with a trend line projection based on the most recent available data. The number of fatalities in Massachusetts has been relatively stable for 2013, 2014, and 2015. In 2016 there was a marked increase in these numbers (up from about 345 to 395). However, based on preliminary 2017 draft FARS statistics, the 2016 fatalities appear to be an anomaly. Therefore, rather than following the trend of increasing numbers starting in 2016, we predict 2017 and 2018 will return to numbers seen in 2015. Further, the 2019 fatalities should be down because of the strategies being advanced and implemented as part of the soon-to-be released 2018 Strategic Highway Safety Plan (SHSP). The strategies to be adopted through the SHSP include a mix of engineering, enforcement, education, awareness and emergency response strategies, as well as data enhancements to better track the information. With these considerations and initiatives, we anticipate the 5 year average fatalities for 2015-2019 will be 353, a nearly 4% drop from the 2012-2016 5 year rolling average of 367. This target was developed in coordination with the Executive Office of Public Safety and Security – Highway Safety Division (EOPSS/HS) (required to submit targets to NHTSA), the MassDOT Office of Transportation Planning (OTP) working closely with the MPOs, and the Office of Performance Management and Innovation (OPMI, which produces an annual performance report called Tracker that serves the public and State Legislature). Moreover, it should be noted that our overarching goal is towards zero deaths and we will continue to work towards that goal by implementing SHSP strategies. Our interim goal for 2018-2022 five year average for fatalities is 320 which reflects a nearly 13% drop from the 2012-2016 five year fatality average of 367.
    Per FHWA guidance, our target setting process began with a trend line projection based on the most recent available data. Based on 5 year rolling averages, the number of fatalities in Massachusetts over the last 7 years, (2012 – 2018), has been relatively stable fluctuating less than 1 percent (between 358.4 and 361.6) with the exception of 2016, when the 5 year average reached 363.8. In December 2018, the SHSP was signed by the which includes some proposed legislation that could have a marked improvement in highway safety, such as primary seat belt law and hands-free only use of electronic devices while driving. The SHSP also contains strategies that include a mix of engineering, enforcement, education, awareness and emergency response strategies, as well as data enhancements to better track highway safety. These external factors, along with continued construction of HSIP and other safety projects and continued education and enforcement programs may have an impact on the number of fatalities and serious injuries on the roadways in Massachusetts With these considerations and initiatives, we anticipate the 5 year average fatalities for 2016-2020 will be 347, a nearly 3% drop from the 2014-2018 5 year rolling average of 358.4. This target was developed in coordination with the Executive Office of Public Safety and Security – Highway Safety Division (EOPSS/HS) (required to submit targets to NHTSA), the MassDOT Office of Transportation Planning (OTP) working closely with the MPOs, and the Office of Performance Management and Innovation (OPMI, which produces an annual performance report called Tracker that serves the public and State Legislature). Moreover, it should be noted that our overarching goal is towards zero deaths and we will continue to work towards that goal by implementing SHSP strategies.
    Per FHWA guidance, our target setting process began with a trend line projection based on the most recent available data. However, this all changed when COVID hit and our VMTs dropped precipitously due to stay at home orders. The decline in VMTs is a change in trends from previous years, and dictated that we had to first calculate a fatality rate that would reflect a continued decrease to align with our towards zero death goals. Our previous safety target fatality rate for the 2020 5 year average was 0.56 and using our new VMT projections, we set the fatality rate to 0.55 for 2021 5 year average. We then worked backwards with the VMT projections we had for 2020 and 2021 to get reasonable fatal projections. Using our 2020 5 year average of 347, we assumed a linear 1.5% annual drop, which brings our 2021 5 year average projection to 339. Our active HSIP program, closely aligned work with our Highway Safety Office (NHTSA funded), joint efforts with our Sustainable transportation (bicyclist and pedestrian safety), commitment on several EDC programs and new Hands-free law (which went into effect in 2020 will help us to achieve our targets and our ultimate goal of zero fatalities. This target was developed in coordination with the Executive Office of Public Safety and Security – Highway Safety Division (EOPSS/HSD) (required to submit targets to NHTSA), the MassDOT Office of Transportation Planning (OTP) working closely with the MPOs, and the Office of Performance Management and Innovation (OPMI), which produces an annual performance report called Tracker that serves the public and State Legislature. Moreover, it should be noted that our overarching goal is towards zero deaths and we will continue to work towards that goal by implementing SHSP strategies. To be consistent with the HSP Safety Targets provided to NHTSA, we used whole numbers for our 5-year average targets.

  • Data Sources:
    Fatalities: 2013-2018 Final FARS, 2019 FARS Annual Report File
    Targets: 2018-2020 Massachusetts HSIP Annual Reports

  • Fatality Rate (per 100 million VMT)

  • Fatality Rate
    (per 100 million VMT)
    2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020 2021
    Annual 0.62 0.62 0.58 0.63 0.55 0.53 0.51
    5-Year Average 0.600 0.582 0.560
    Target (5-Year Average) 0.580 0.560 0.550
  • Basis for Fatality Rate Target

    Fatality Rate: The fatality rate is calculated using the goal of fatalities and the projected vehicle miles traveled (VMT) to obtain the 2015-2019 fatality rate. MassDOT Planning projects a 0.3% annual increase in VMTs. Therefore, the fatality rate from 2012-2016 of 0.64 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles traveled will drop to 0.58 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles traveled in 2015-2019 which reflects a 8.7% drop. The interim goal for fatality rate in 2018-2022 is 0.52 which reflects a drop of approximately 18% since 2012-2016. The long term goal is towards zero deaths, so the long term fatality rate target is 0.0 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles traveled.
    The fatality rate is calculated using the 5 year target for fatalities and the projected vehicle miles traveled (VMT) to obtain the 2016-2020 fatality rate. MassDOT Planning projects a linear 0.3% annual increase in VMTs every year. Therefore, the fatality rate from 2014-2018 of 0.58 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles traveled will decrease to 0.56 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles traveled in 2016-2020 which reflects a 4% reduction. The long term goal is towards zero deaths, so the long term fatality rate target is 0.0 fatalities per 100 million VMTs.
    Due to dramatic shifts in decreasing VMTS, we had to start with a desired reduction in fatality rates and back into targets for fatalities. To align with agency goals, we need a fatality rate that shows a decline over the previous year. MassDOT’s 2021 target fatality rate had to be reduced from the 5 year average of 2016-2020 of 0.56 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles traveled, and we assumed a reduction so that the target is now 0.55 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles traveled for 2021 ( 2017-2021). The long term goal is towards zero deaths, so the long term fatality rate target is 0.0 fatalities per 100 million VMTs.

  • Data Sources:
    Fatalities: 2013-2018 Final FARS, 2019 FARS Annual Report File
    VMT: 2013-2019 FHWA Highway Statistics Series, VM-2 Table
    Targets: 2018-2020 Massachusetts HSIP Annual Reports

  • Number of Serious Injuries

  • Number of Serious Injuries 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020 2021
    Annual 3,197 3,031 2,931 2,983 2,573 2,554 2,725
    5-Year Average 2,943.0 2,814.4 2,753.2
    Target (5-Year Average) 2,801.0 2,689.0 2,580.0
  • Basis for Number of Serious Injuries Target

    FHWA guidance, we began with the trend line then considered external factors and planned implementation to inform the targets. Based on the trend line, the predicted number of serious injuries for 2015-2019 five year rolling average would be 2801 per year, down from 3132 for 2012-2016 yearly average, a 10.6% drop. Please note that in the Massachusetts crash system, the injury severity is based on “incapacitating injuries” not “serious injuries.” This will change in 2019 based on the Federal rule for defining suspected serious injuries. There are external factors, some specific to Massachusetts and others that are applicable nationwide, that will impact the trend line (positively and negatively) although we do not yet know enough to know how these will impact the trends. Examples include: a required change in reporting and definition of serious injuries on the crash report, a recent State recreational marijuana law (in the process of implementation), a proposed hands-free law and anticipated changes in other roadway safety laws in the near future. Meanwhile, MassDOT will begin implementing strategies and countermeasures that are being developed in the updated 2018 Strategic Highway Safety Plan. This target was developed in coordination with EOPSS/HSD(required to submit targets to NHTSA), the MassDOT OTP working closely with the MPOs, and the Office of Performance Management and Innovation (OPMI, which produces an annual performance report called Tracker that serves the public and State Legislature). Moreover, it should be noted that our overarching goal is towards zero deaths and serious injuries, and we will continue to work towards that goal. Our interim goal for 2018-2022 five year rolling average for serious injuries is 2467 which reflects a nearly 21% drop from the 2012-2016 serious injury five year rolling average of 3132.
    FHWA guidance, we began with a trend line and considered external factors and planned implementation projects to inform the targets. Based on this, the predicted number of serious injuries for 2016-2020 five year rolling average would be 2,689 per year, down from 2,809.8 for 2014-2018 yearly average and equal to a 4 percent reduction. The external factors, described in the fatalities section, also apply to injuries, and will impact the number of serious injuries on our roadways. Furthermore, there is also a data issue which may impact reporting levels On January 1, 2019, our statewide crash system changed the data attributes to describe the injury severity. The term used to be “incapacitating injury” now the term is “suspect serious injury” and there are definitions provided to police agencies for a suspected serious injury that would make it easier and more objective to report on injury severity. It is unclear how this will impact the trends. As a result, the 4 percent decrease in serious injuries was selected as it generally follows the trendline. This target was developed in coordination with EOPSS/HSD (required to submit targets to NHTSA), the MassDOT OTP working closely with the MPOs, and OPMI (which produces an annual performance report called Tracker that serves the public and State Legislature). Moreover, it should be noted that our overarching goal is towards zero deaths and serious injuries, and we will continue to work towards that goal.
    FHWA guidance, our target setting process began with a trend line projection based on the most recent available data. However, this all changed when COVID hit and our VMTs dropped precipitously. The decline in VMTs is a change in trends from previous years and dictated that we had to first calculate a serious injury rate that would reflect a continued decrease to align with our agency goals. Our previous safety target for serious injury rates for the 2020 5 year average was 4.30 so our serious injury rate had to be below that. Once we had the serious injury rate set to 4.23 for 2021 5 year average, we worked backwards with the VMT projections we had for 2020 and 2021 to get reasonable serious injury projections. Using this methodology and building off of our serious injury target of 2869 for the 2020 5 year average, we assumed a linear 5% annual drop, which brings our 2021 5 year average projection of serious injuries to 2,580. Our active HSIP program, closely aligned work with our Highway Safety Office (NHTSA funded), joint efforts with our Sustainable transportation (bicyclist and pedestrian safety), commitment on several EDC programs and new Hands-free law (which went into effect in 2020) will help us to achieve our targets and our ultimate goal of zero fatalities and serious injuries. The serious injury targets were even more challenging because of the change in terminology for injury severity on crash reports. On January 1st, 2019, Massachusetts moved from incapacitating injuries to suspected serious injuries, as per Federal requirements. Some police departments have not yet fully converted over so 2019 is still a mix of injury severities and the full impact of moving to suspected serious injury is still not fully known. This target was developed in coordination with the Executive Office of Public Safety and Security – Highway Safety Division (EOPSS/HSD) (required to submit targets to NHTSA), the MassDOT Office of Transportation Planning (OTP) working closely with the MPOs, and the Office of Performance Management and Innovation (OPMI), which produces an annual performance report called Tracker that serves the public and State Legislature. Moreover, it should be noted that our overarching goal is towards zero deaths and serious injuries and we will continue to work towards that goal by implementing SHSP strategies. To be consistent with the HSP Safety Targets provided to NHTSA, we used whole numbers for our 5-year average targets.

  • Data Sources:
    Serious Injuries: 2020 Massachusetts HSIP Annual Report
    Targets: 2018-2020 Massachusetts HSIP Annual Reports

  • Rate of Serious Injuries (per 100 million VMT)

  • Rate of Serious Injuries
    (per 100 million VMT)
    2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020 2021
    Annual 5.68 5.27 4.95 4.82 4.11 3.82 4.20
    5-Year Average 4.966 4.594 4.380
    Target (5-Year Average) 4.370 4.300 4.230
  • Basis for Serious Injury Rate Target

    The serious injury rate is calculated using the goal of serious injuries and the projected vehicle miles traveled (VMT) to obtain the 2015-2019 fatality rate goal. MassDOT Planning projects a 0.3% annual increase in VMTs. Therefore, the serious injury rate from 2012-2016 of 5.44 serious injuries per 100 million vehicle miles traveled will drop to 4.37 serious injuries per 100 million vehicle miles traveled in 2015-2019 which reflects a nearly 20% drop. The interim goal for serious injury rate in 2018-2022 is 3.5 which reflects a drop of approximately 36% since 2012-2016.The long term goal is towards zero deaths and injuries, so the long term serious injury rate is 0.0 serious injuries per 100 million vehicle miles traveled.
    The serious injury rate is calculated using the 5 year target for serious injuries and the projected vehicle miles traveled (VMT) to obtain the 2016-2020 fatality rate goal. MassDOT Planning projects a linear 0.3% annual increase in VMTs every year. Therefore, the serious injury rate from 2014-2018 of 4.57 serious injuries per 100 million vehicle miles traveled will drop to 4.30 serious injuries per 100 million vehicle miles traveled in 2016-2020 which reflects a nearly 6% drop. The long term goal is towards zero deaths and injuries, so the long term serious injury rate is 0.0 serious injuries per 100 million VMTs.
    Due to dramatic shifts in decreasing VMTS, we had to start with a desired reduction in serious injury rates and back into targets for serious injuries. To align with agency goals, we need a serious injury rate that shows a decline over the previous year. To get the 2021 target, we simply took our 5 year average fatality rate from 2016-2020 of 4.30 serious injuries per 100 million vehicle miles traveled and assumed a reduction so that the target is now 4.23 serious injuries per 100 million vehicle miles traveled for 2021 (2017-2021). The long term goal is towards zero deaths and serious injuries, so the long term fatality rate target is 0.0 serious injuries per 100 million VMTs.

  • Data Sources:
    Serious Injuries: 2020 Massachusetts HSIP Annual Report
    VMT: 2013-2019 FHWA Highway Statistics Series, VM-2 Table
    Targets: 2018-2020 Massachusetts HSIP Annual Reports

  • Number of Non-Motorized Fatalities and Serious Injuries

  • Number of Non-Motorized Fatalities
    and Serious Injuries
    2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020 2021
    Annual 537 580 542 554 516 498 512
    5-Year Average 545.8 538.0 524.4
    Target (5-Year Average) 541.0 505.4 506.0
  • Basis for Number of Non-Motorized Fatalities and Serious Injuries Target

    As with all the other target setting measures, FHWA’s guidance is to start with a trend line forecast and then consider external factors and planned implementation in order to set targets. Using the historical data to create a trend line, the predicted number of fatalities and serious injuries for non-motorists for 2015-2019 yearly average would be an increase from the 2012-2016 yearly average of 551. However, even though the fatalities and injuries has been trending up instead of down, the many Massachusetts agencies engaged in the safety of non-motorized modes are actively working on strategies to ameliorate the non-motorist fatality and injuries while promoting and encouraging walking and cycling. Therefore, the goal is to reverse the trend of increasing fatalities and injuries and move towards zero deaths and injuries. To do this, we have set the goal identical to last year which is 541 non-motorist fatalities and injuries for the 2015-2019 five year average. As the 2018 Strategic Highway Safety Plan is being completed and the Statewide Pedestrian Plan is being finalized, new multi-disciplined and multi-agency strategies will be developed and implemented. Several projects and multi-agency programs have been and are being implemented that will hopefully help to reverse the existing trend while encouraging non-motorist activities. There will also be an increased effort to attempt to resolve some issues so that systemic projects could be implemented which would help to bring down the non-motorist fatalities and serious injuries. Therefore, although our current trend line shows a projected increase in non-motorist fatalities and serious injuries, our goal is to reverse the trend and move towards zero deaths.
    As with all the other target setting measures, FHWA’s guidance is to start with a trend line forecast and then consider external factors and planned implementation in order to set targets. Using historical data to create a trend line, the predicted number of fatalities and serious injuries for non-motorists for the 2016-2020 yearly average see an increase from the 2014-2018 yearly average of 505.4 (this target includes bicyclists and pedestrians, and excludes skaters, not reported, train/trolley passengers, and other, from the query for statewide data for serious injuries). However, even though the fatalities and injuries has been trending upwards, Massachusetts is actively working on strategies to ameliorate non-motorist fatality and injuries, while promoting and encouraging walking and cycling. In fact, the past two years of closed crash data do indicate the trend may be changing. Therefore, the goal is to reverse the trend of increasing fatalities and injuries and move towards zero deaths and injuries. To do this, we have set the goal identical to the 2014-2018 5 year rolling average of 505.4. The 2018 Strategic Highway Safety Plan, the 2019 Statewide Pedestrian Plan and the 2019 Statewide Bicycle Plan identify new multi-disciplined and multi-agency strategies to implement to eliminate fatalities and serious injuries of people walking and bicycling. There also may be some implementation of low-cost systemic projects related to pedestrian safety in an effort to further drive down fatalities and serious injuries. Therefore, although our current trend line shows a projected increase in non-motorist fatalities and serious injuries, our goal is to reverse the trend and move towards zero deaths.
    As with all the other target setting measures, FHWA’s guidance is to start with a trend line forecast and then consider external factors and planned implementation in order to set targets. Using historical data to create a trend line, the number of fatalities and serious injuries for non-motorists had been going up until the past two years when the trend was reversed and the numbers started coming down. As with other targets, Massachusetts wanted to reflect on the concept that we are moving towards zero deaths and serious injuries so our targets would need to move in that direction. In 2020, our safety target for the 5 year average of pedestrian and bicyclist fatal and serious injuries was 517. To reflect a reduction, we assumed a 2% annual reduction in fatalities and 1% reduction in serious injuries. Overall, this translated to a 2021 5 year average of 506 fatalities and serious injuries for non-motorists. Massachusetts is actively working on strategies to ameliorate non-motorist fatality and injuries, while promoting and encouraging walking and cycling. The 2018 Strategic Highway Safety Plan, the 2019 Statewide Pedestrian Plan and the 2019 Statewide Bicycle Plan identify new multi-disciplined and multi-agency strategies to eliminate fatalities and serious injuries of people walking and bicycling. There also may be some implementation of low-cost systemic projects related to pedestrian safety in an effort to further drive down fatalities and serious injuries. Therefore, we hope to see at least this reduction in non-motorist fatalities and serious injuries, which is working towards our ultimate goal towards zero deaths and serious injuries. To be consistent with the HSP Safety Targets provided to NHTSA, we used whole numbers for our 5-year average targets.

  • Data Sources:
    Fatalities: 2013-2018 Final FARS, 2019 FARS Annual Report File
    Serious Injuries: 2020 Massachusetts HSIP Annual Report
    Targets: 2018-2020 Massachusetts HSIP Annual Reports


Additional Comments

2020 Comments:

Please note that 2018 data are draft and expected to change. Typically, the statewide crash file closes approximately two years later. Presently, 2017 is our most current closed year. However, the safety performance targets were based on the preliminary information.

2021 Comments:

As with all the other target setting measures, FHWA’s guidance is to start with a trend line forecast and then consider external factors and planned implementation in order to set targets. Using historical data to create a trend line, the number of fatalities and serious injuries for non-motorists had been going up until the past two years when the trend was reversed and the numbers started coming down. As with other targets, Massachusetts wanted to reflect on the concept that we are moving towards zero deaths and serious injuries so our targets would need to move in that direction. In 2020, our safety target for the 5 year average of pedestrian and bicyclist fatal and serious injuries was 517. To reflect a reduction, we assumed a 2% annual reduction in fatalities and 1% reduction in serious injuries. Overall, this translated to a 2021 5 year average of 506 fatalities and serious injuries for non-motorists. Massachusetts is actively working on strategies to ameliorate non-motorist fatality and injuries, while promoting and encouraging walking and cycling. The 2018 Strategic Highway Safety Plan, the 2019 Statewide Pedestrian Plan and the 2019 Statewide Bicycle Plan identify new multi-disciplined and multi-agency strategies to eliminate fatalities and serious injuries of people walking and bicycling. There also may be some implementation of low-cost systemic projects related to pedestrian safety in an effort to further drive down fatalities and serious injuries. Therefore, we hope to see at least this reduction in non-motorist fatalities and serious injuries, which is working towards our ultimate goal towards zero deaths and serious injuries.

Safety Performance Target Assessment

PLEASE NOTE: Each State’s safety performance target assessment is based on its own State-specific target methodology and program philosophy. Therefore, conclusions should not be drawn based only on the information in the Safety Performance Target Assessment Summary table. For example, the State may have set aggressive targets, and not met those targets, while another State may have set more easily attainable targets, and met those targets. FHWA understands that each State’s safety program is unique and therefore does not prescribe a methodology for States to set targets. States have the flexibility to use the methodology they deem most appropriate when setting their safety performance targets.

Massachusetts 2019 Safety Performance Target Assessment
Performance Measure 2015-2019 Target 2015-2019 Actual 2013-2017 Baseline Met Target? Better Than Baseline? Met or Made Significant Progress?
Number of Fatalities 353.0 353.4 356.6 No Yes Yes
Rate of Fatalities 0.580 0.560 0.600 Yes N/A
Number of Serious Injuries 2,801.0 2,753.2 2,943.0 Yes N/A
Rate of Serious Injuries 4.370 4.380 4.966 No Yes
Number of Non-Motorized Fatalities and Serious Injuries 541.0 524.4 545.8 Yes N/A

Updated: 05/26/2021
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