907.1 Safety Program Guidelines

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Each year, Missouri receives federal funding to support traffic safety efforts across the state. The majority of this funding is distributed to MoDOT’s seven districts and used for initiatives and projects to reduce fatalities and serious injuries on Missouri roads. This article provides guidance regarding the eligibility and application of safety funds. These guidelines supersede any previous documents pertaining to using safety funding on transportation projects.

907.1.1 Criteria for Safety Project Funding

By federal rule, federal highway safety funds can only be used on safety-focused engineering projects. In addition, any project using safety funds must have a “relationship” to Missouri's Strategic Highway Safety Plan (SHSP). This means that any project using safety funds must support one of the strategies identified in Missouri’s SHSP, also known as Missouri’s Blueprint to Save More Lives.

Any project utilizing federal safety funds must also be included in the STIP and (on or off the state system) meet one of the following criteria:

1. Proactive Measure: Systemwide Solutions. Missouri’s current SHSP – “Missouri’s Blueprint Save More Lives” - designates systemic strategies vital to the reduction of fatalities and serious injuries in highway crashes. In addition, other systemic strategies may be identified in the future that can be used systemwide to reduce fatalities and disabling injuries. The idea of the systemic approach is to apply a specific safety improvement across an entire “system” of locations that exhibit a significant potential for severe crashes. This means some locations without an actual severe crash history may be treated as part of the systemic approach. Because the specific locations of severe crashes are difficult to predict, the systemic approach aims to treat the entire system as opposed to only those specific locations with a prior severe crash. One notable example of this approach is MoDOT’s installation of median guard cable. Instead of installing cable only at the specific locations that had experienced a severe cross-median crash, MoDOT recognized the likelihood for these same crashes to occur at similar locations throughout the state. Therefore, guard cable was applied to the entire corridors meeting a certain criteria, thus minimizing the need to identify specific locations in which the crashes would occur. Other notable examples of systemwide engineering strategies include paved shoulders rumble strips and systematic sign upgrades.
2. Reactive Measure: Severe Crash Experience. Projects meeting this criterion must provide a corrective improvement to a location exhibiting fatal and/or serious injury crash experience. This severe crash experience may be demonstrated by inclusion on the Safety Priority Lists or discovered through data analysis that indicates significant fatal and/or serious injury crash experiences. Safety needs can also be identified through a Road Safety Assessment, which identifies potential safety issues and countermeasures at a particular location. Countermeasures implemented using this approach must specifically address the severe crash issue occurring at the identified location.

As part of the Safety Program oversight, Central Office will conduct periodic Safety Quality Assurance reviews in the districts including safety projects selected meet one of the two criteria.

907.1.2 Improvements Eligible for Safety Funds

There are numerous engineering improvements that can assist in reducing fatalities and serious injuries on Missouri’s roadways. The following safety improvements are proven countermeasures in Missouri and are always eligible for safety funds:

  • Addition of paved shoulders and edgeline rumble strips
  • Horizontal curve improvements
o High-friction surface treatment (HFST)
o Installation of chevron signs
o Improving the curve’s superelevation
o Adding paved shoulders and edgeline rumble strips
  • Expressway intersection improvements
o Installation of J-Turns
o Installation of offset left and offset right turn lanes
  • High-friction surface treatments (HFST) at other locations
  • Installation of centerline rumble strips
  • Installation of median guard cable
  • Annual on-call law enforcement in work zones

In addition, other improvements to help reduce fatalities and serious injuries can be eligible for safety funds. Such improvements must be implemented in a systemic manner or supported by relevant severe crash experience. Examples of such improvements include, but are not limited to:

  • Roundabouts
  • Diverging diamond interchanges
  • Pedestrian safety improvements
  • Installation of wrong-way driving countermeasures
  • Access management improvements
  • Installation of signing, striping, and lighting at intersections
  • Installation of guardrail
  • Installation of flashing yellow arrows
  • Pavement marking to maintain retroreflectivity

907.1.3 District Safety Plans and Project Reporting

Each state fiscal year, federal highway safety funds are distributed to MoDOT’s seven districts to reduce fatalities and serious injuries. Each district should develop and maintain a district safety plan which outlines the intended use of all available safety funds for upcoming fiscal years. The district safety plan must support the Blueprint and should identify the region’s top needs and corresponding strategies for reducing fatalities and serious injuries. The plans should clearly identify each project that will use safety funds and provide a project description with information regarding the project location, a description of the safety improvements (rumbles, J-Turns, etc.), and, where possible, the expected benefits (see EPG 907.1.5 Resources to Support Engineering Safety Improvements for help determining benefits). As districts develop safety plans to use safety funds, a member of Central Office Highway Safety and Traffic Division should be a part of the team (either Traffic Liaison Engineer – Safety, Traffic Safety Engineer, or a designee). It is recommended that each district have a rolling 3-5 year safety plan which is updated annually.

Projects using safety funds require a SIMS (STIP Information Management System) form be submitted, and a job number should be requested to charge expenses. On the SIMS form, districts will be required to provide justification for the “Safety” categorization (see EPG 907.1.1 Criteria for Safety Project Funding) and a benefit/cost ratio for the project if not using a system-wide safety solution (benefit equals the number of fatalities and serious injuries being reduced by project), the improvement category (defined by FHWA), the relationship to SHSP (both the Emphasis Area and Strategy), the observed safety problem, and the safety countermeasure.

Once completed, the effectiveness of safety projects will be tracked by the district with before/after evaluations. The results of these district studies will be compiled by Central Office Highway Safety and Traffic and submitted to the Federal Highway Administration each year as part of Missouri’s Highway Safety Improvement Program report. This annual report identifies how Missouri spent the federal safety funds provided to the state. The District Safety Plans and the SIMS information provide crucial information for completing this report.

907.1.4 Safety Improvements on Local Roads

Federal safety funds may be used for improvements on local roads. Safety projects on local roads must meet the same criteria established for state roadways. In Missouri, approximately 25% of traffic fatalities occur on the local road system. The safety priority lists developed by the Highway Safety and Traffic Division include local roads. When considering the use of safety funds on local roads, an analysis should be done to show the expected benefits of treating the local road are comparable to other project alternatives on the state system. The Highway Safety and Traffic Division should also be contacted prior to programming safety funds on the local road system.

907.1.5 Resources to Support Engineering Safety Improvements

The following resources can help identify effective safety strategies, determine expected benefits, and help guide safety improvement decision-making.

1. Missouri’s Strategic Highway Safety Plan (SHSP). Missouri’s Blueprint to Save More Lives is the guiding document for roadway safety in the state. The Blueprint details the most frequent severe crash types and effective strategies to reduce fatalities and serious injuries. It is vital for each district to work in cooperation with their regional Blueprint coalition during problem identification and the development of countermeasures. Efforts to address issues identified in the key strategies (“Necessary Nine”) are preferred.
2. Safety Priority Lists. This set of lists focuses on fatal and serious injury crashes by frequency, location, and crash type. These lists can be used to help identify locations in the state with the greatest potential for severe crashes.
3. Highway Safety Manual. The Highway Safety Manual (HSM) and associated tools allow for a quantitative analysis of certain engineering treatments to estimate the expected benefit. Such an analysis enables staff to optimize the use of safety funds by targeting improvements that are expected to provide the greatest benefit (expected reduction of fatalities and serious injuries). The analysis may include a crash prediction using HSM spreadsheets or an expected change in crashes based on known crash modification factors (CMF). A CMF represents the expected change in crashes resulting from a specific treatment. Some CMFs are developed using national datasets (see FHWA’s CMF Clearinghouse) while others may be based strictly on Missouri experiences (see MoDOT safety studies).