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.

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 – Show-Me Zero: Driving Missouri Towards Safer Roads - 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 serious 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. Treating locations with an increased risk of severe crashes is the guiding principle for where to install systemic improvements. 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 MoDOT's 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 Safety Program oversight, Central Office conducts periodic reviews of district safety projects to ensure those projects meet one of these 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 expected severe crash frequency. 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

New innovative solutions are constantly being developed to address roadway safety issues. When a new treatment appears as a viable solution, the Highway Safety and Traffic Division should be consulted prior to implementation. After installation, the performance of this new treatment should be evaluated to determine its potential for future applications.

907.1.3 District Safety Plans and Project Reporting

Each state fiscal year, federal highway safety funds are distributed to MoDOT’s seven districts. Each district should communicate with MoDOT’s planning partners to identify and program safety projects that will maximize the reduction in fatalities and serious injuries on Missouri’s roadways. Districts should document and maintain a procedure to use as a resource to provide consistency in reporting safety projects.

Deadlines for programming safety projects are provided annually by Planning Division’s Statewide Programming team. The following is a general timeline for this process:

  • Summer/Fall: Districts should identify safety project needs, evaluate those needs for benefits in reducing fatality and serious injury crashes, and prioritize these projects to program in the STIP.
  • January: Planning Division provides funding targets and related programming guidance.
  • February: Districts update project information in SIMS (STIP Information Management System)
  • Early March: Typical deadline for data entry into SIMS.

Projects using safety funds typically have a SIMS (STIP Information Management System) form approved, and typically require a job number to charge expenses. On the SIMS form, districts provide information for categorization of safety improvements as consistent with FHWA reporting and Missouri’s SHSP (see EPG 907.1.1 Criteria for Safety Project Funding). Estimations of severe crashes reduced are also included on this form. Benefit equals the dollar value of fatal and serious injury crashes being reduced by the project. A benefit/cost ratio is calculated to support justification for the safety improvement.

The effectiveness of safety projects will be evaluated 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 (HSIP) report. This annual report identifies how Missouri spent the federal safety funds provided to the state. 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. Additionally, any funding match for federal safety funds must be locally sourced from the agency where the improvements will be implemented. 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). Show-Me Zero: Driving Missouri Toward Safer Roads is the guiding document for roadway safety in the state. The SHSP 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 Missouri Coalition for Roadway Safety (MCRS) regional coalitions during problem identification and the development of countermeasures. Efforts to address issues identified in the key strategies 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, such as ISATe or IHSDM, 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). Calibration factors have been developed to align the results from an HSM analysis with Missouri specific data. Information regarding these calibration factors can be found in the following documents: