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3 National Safety Programs in Benchmark Countries and the United States T his chapter describes safety practices in other countries that have been credited with producing substantial and rapid reductions in highway deaths. Also described are examples of U.S. efforts at the national level to develop the capabilities that appear to be important in other nations’ programs. The first section below summarizes several past international surveys of safety programs by the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) and others that attempted to define the common features of successful programs. The reviews have been influential in drawing attention in the United States to the methods and the successes in other countries. The second describes the features of selected major initiatives in France, Australia, Sweden, and the United Kingdom to illustrate the general features that the past reviews identified. The third describes several recent national-level initiatives to strengthen and reform U.S. traffic safety programs, some of which were influenced by awareness of practices in other countries. These include USDOT-sponsored multistate demonstrations of anti–drunk driving and speed control campaigns and new approaches to safety planning in the states promoted by USDOT and by the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO), as reviewed in reports of USDOT and the National Cooperative Highway Research Program (NCHRP). These sources provide a basis for comparison of U.S. state and federal safety programs with those of other countries and indicate the challenges of applying methods used in other countries in the U.S. context. COMMON ELEMENTS OF BENCHMARK NATIONS’ SAFETY PROGRAMS Chapter 1 cited reports of several U.S. expert groups, sponsored by USDOT and AASHTO, that have surveyed traffic safety practices in other countries with the goal of identifying the essential components of successful programs. At least 10 such groups in the past decade have studied aspects of safety programs or of general management practices (e.g., performance measurement) that are essential elements of safety programs (FHWA 2009c). Boxes 3-1, 3-2, and 3-3 present lists of components as compiled in these reports. These U.S. syntheses highlight largely the same program elements as the comparison of international practices by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Working Group on Achieving Ambitious Road Safety Targets (Box 3-4). A detailed specification of the elements of road safety management is provided in the World Bank’s Country Guidelines for the Conduct of Road Safety Management Capacity Reviews and the Specification of Lead Agency Reforms, Investment Strategies and Safe System Projects (Bliss and Breen 2009). The guidelines define a process for countries receiving World Bank assistance to follow in creating a program that reduces traffic casualties. They are based on the recommendations of the United Nations’ World Report on Road Traffic Injury Prevention (Peden et al. 2004) and on in-depth analyses of safety program organization in seven countries (summarized in the document). The guidelines strongly emphasize the essential step of 51
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52 Special Report 300: Achieving Traffic Safety Goals in the United States: Lessons from Other Nations identifying a lead agency in government and endowing it with the necessary powers, resources, and responsibility. The lead agency is to “guide the national road safety effort, with the power to make decisions, manage resources and coordinate the efforts of all participating sectors of government” (Bliss and Breen 2009, 16). Box 3-1 Lessons from a Decade of Safety Scanning Tours A summary by Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) safety professionals of the experience of more than a dozen FHWA–AASHTO safety scanning tours conducted over the past decade highlighted five lessons that U.S. states can apply to improve highway safety (Baxter et al. 2005): 1. A top-down commitment by the political leadership is essential for reducing fatalities. Leadership is required to provide direction, accountability, and resources. 2. A “safe systems” approach—that is, identifying the causal factors of crashes in the jurisdiction so that specific strategies can be implemented in response—is a valuable method of planning the program of countermeasures to be applied. This approach will often lead to multidisciplinary countermeasure strategies (e.g., combining actions to change driver behavior with road design improvements). 3. A collaborative process of planning and implementation, reaching out to all relevant agencies and to interested nongovernmental groups, contributes to success. In the United States, this lesson implies that collaboration between the states and local governments, allowing local input to planning and providing local governments with training and assistance, will be vital. 4. Successful national safety strategies are based on a “business approach”; that is, management entails defining objectives, quantifying results, and showing cost-effectiveness. 5. Innovative concepts developed abroad would have safety payoffs if applied in the United States. Examples include the European and Australian Road Assessment Programs and road designs on the principle of the “self-organizing roadway” that are being applied in some European countries—features such as intersection roundabouts that naturally induce drivers to operate their vehicles in a safer manner.
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National Safety Programs in Benchmark Countries and the United States 53 Box 3-2 Steps to Better Safety Management Through Performance Measurement A 2004 FHWA–AASHTO scanning tour of Australia, Canada, Japan, and New Zealand observed the use of performance measures in transportation planning and decision making. The study panel concluded that “transportation agencies in the countries visited use performance measures for setting priorities and making investment and management decisions to a greater extent than is typical in the United States” and that “the most impressive application of performance management [was] in road safety, where it was used to identify strategies to reduce fatalities” (MacDonald et al. 2004, ii). The panel attributed these countries’ success in reducing road fatalities primarily to systematic management practices founded on goal setting, quantitative performance evaluation, and accountability for results (MacDonald et al. 2004, 60). The panel identified eight steps that were common to the approaches to safety management in the countries visited (MacDonald et al. 2004, 60–67): 1. Understand the problem. Successful safety programs rely on systematic data collection, analysis, and research to understand the most important crash causes and risk factors on the country’s roads. 2. Establish institutional leadership, responsibility, and accountability. Success was associated with direct engagement of the most senior level of government administration and close coordination among the responsible agencies, including transportation agencies, police, and courts. 3. Define desired outcomes. Successful programs have established quantitative targets for total casualties and for specific categories of risks (e.g., high crash frequency locations, young drivers, alcohol-related crashes). 4. Identify performance indicators. Indicators are measures of the desired ultimate outcomes (reduced fatalities, injuries, and crashes) and measures of organizational outputs that are expected to lead to these outcomes (e.g., numbers of enforcement actions taken, frequency of violations of speed limits and other road regulations). 5. Compare performance with experiences of other jurisdictions. Benchmarking is an aid in setting goals and revealing potential problems. 6. Implement a systematic safety data collection and analysis process. Information systems in successful countries were geared toward providing continual and timely monitoring of performance indicators and evaluating the effectiveness of implemented actions. 7. Develop a safety plan and integrate it into agency decision making. Plans in the countries studied define the safety problem, performance targets, and organizational responsibilities and evaluate a range of strategy options for reaching targets. The plans are developed with public input. 8. Monitor effectiveness of implemented actions. Transportation officials in the countries visited had good information on the injury reduction achieved by each implemented strategy.
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54 Special Report 300: Achieving Traffic Safety Goals in the United States: Lessons from Other Nations Box 3-3 Critical Success Factors The 2006 FHWA publication Halving Roadway Fatalities was inspired by FHWA’s 2004 Pacific scanning tour on performance measurement and written by an Australian expert on that country’s safety methods. It identifies the following critical success factors and enabling circumstances in the highway safety program of the Australian state of Victoria (Johnston 2006, 17): 1. A sound and realistic plan: The plan must identify and focus on the major problems, propose interventions known to be effective, set objective targets, and provide for monitoring of progress and public accountability. 2. Political and bureaucratic leadership: Committed political leadership must be supported by leadership from each agency responsible for implementing the plan. 3. Integrated implementation: Integrated, coordinated implementation by the various agencies with responsibilities under the plan is an essential ingredient of the Victorian success story. Beyond these critical factors, the following enabling circumstances in Victoria contributed to the success of the safety program: • A history of success with interventions based on legislation and enforcement helped create a political willingness to act. • Relationships have long existed between the traffic safety research community and policy makers, which facilitated planning and created a climate in which scientific evaluations of interventions are routine. • Extensive public education traffic safety programs have been instrumental in sustaining community concern for road safety and support for effective interventions. • The media historically have been supportive of effective interventions, which has facilitated political willingness to act.
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National Safety Programs in Benchmark Countries and the United States 55 Box 3-4 Achieving Ambitious Road Safety Targets The OECD Working Group on Achieving Ambitious Road Safety Targets compiled reports in uniform format from 39 member states on traffic safety performance and trends, road safety problems, and the content of safety program (OECD and International Transport Forum n.d.). This information supported a comparative analysis of common institutional features of successful safety programs, summarized in the report as follows (OECD and International Transport Forum 2008d, 16–17): Improving Key Institutional Management Functions Because road safety performance is determined by institutional capacity to implement efficient and effective interventions, targets will be most readily met if a robust management system can be established. This system should have a clear focus on producing agreed results. Results are dependent on interventions which are in turn dependent on institutional management functions. . . . Much of the day to day discussion concerning road safety centres only on interventions. Addressing all parts of the management pyramid [results, interventions, and institutional management functions] brings in such important and often neglected issues as institutional ownership and functional capacities for road safety policies, a safety performance framework for delivery of interventions and accountability for results. The following seven institutional management functions are critical determinants of a country’s capacity to achieve results: • Results focus—a strategic focus that links the delivery of interventions with subsequent intermediate and final outcomes. This requires government to designate a lead agency to work with other agencies to: — Develop management capacity to understand a country’s road safety issues. — Provide a comprehensive strategy with intermediate and outcome targets. — Deliver interventions and target achievements. — Review performance. • Coordination of the key agencies to develop and deliver road safety policy and strategy. • Effective legislation to enable desired results to be delivered. • Adequate funding and well targeted resource allocation for interventions and related institutional management functions. • Promotion of road safety within government and the broader community. • Robust and systematic monitoring and evaluation to measure progress. • Proactive research and development and knowledge transfer programmes which actively influence improvement in interventions, institutional management functions and performance monitoring. Above all, the commitment to a results focused approach to road safety management has a critical role in determining the achievement of a country’s road safety ambition and related targets.
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56 Special Report 300: Achieving Traffic Safety Goals in the United States: Lessons from Other Nations The generalization that emerges from the past analyses is that successful programs must function effectively at three levels: • Management and planning: Transportation, public safety, and public health administrators systematically measure progress toward quantitative objectives, direct resources to the most cost-effective uses, coordinate programs across agencies, and communicate with the public and with elected officials to maintain their support. Management commitment (in terms of attention and resources) is sustained and consistent. • Technical implementation of specific countermeasures: A range of measures is employed for regulating driver behavior (for example, enforcement techniques to control speed and drunk driving), maintaining effective emergency response, and incorporating hazard reduction in the design and maintenance of roads. The techniques are generally of proven high effectiveness and often intensively applied. • Political support and leadership: Elected officials and their appointees establish safety as a priority, provide the necessary legal framework and resources, and hold public-sector managers accountable for results. A degree of public acceptance of the need for rigorous countermeasures has been gained, and system users expect to be held accountable for compliance with laws and regulations. EXAMPLES OF NATIONAL SAFETY PROGRAMS Authorities in several countries have summarized their road safety programs by means of timelines showing policy actions and coincident changes in fatalities (Figure 3-1). However, as Figure 2-2 in Chapter 2 shows, declines in fatality rates have been nearly universal; therefore, the assertion that the policy milestones marked on the graphs caused the fatality declines would be more convincing if the links between specific policy changes and specific results could be shown directly. For example, did introduction of more rigorous speed enforcement efforts lead to a measured reduction in speeds, and did lower speed lead to a reduction in the kinds of crashes associated with speeding? The first two subsections below describe two cases, new safety policies in France since 2002 and in Australia since 1990, where these links are relatively well documented: changes in high-level policy in a national or regional comprehensive safety program led to changes in strategies, resources, and countermeasures applied, and ultimately to changes in injury frequency. As the summaries of evaluations below will indicate, even in highly regarded safety programs, quantitative evaluation of effects of policies is not as systematic or conclusive as would be ideal; also, the committee obtained little information on program expenditures in the benchmark countries. Nonetheless, study of cases where these links are clearest will provide the most useful insights on the changes needed in U.S. practices to produce safety improvement. The final two subsections describe safety programs in Sweden and the United Kingdom. Road fatality rates in those two countries are among the lowest in the world over the past several decades, and both conduct significant national safety strategic planning and monitoring activities.
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National Safety Programs in Benchmark Countries and the United States 57 3.6 750 Road deaths 3.3 700 First National Road Safety Plan First S(A)P: targeted enforcement resources Deaths per 10,000 vehicles 3.0 650 CBT and speed cameras 2.7 600 Deaths Highway Patrol Intensive advertising and enforcement 2.4 550 Vehicle impoundment 2.1 500 Deaths per 10,000 vehicles 1.8 450 1.5 400 400 1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 [fatalities] FIGURE 3-1 Safety policy timelines: New Zealand (top) and France (bottom). [SOURCES: Fitzgerald 2002 (New Zealand); ONISR 2009c (France).]
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58 Special Report 300: Achieving Traffic Safety Goals in the United States: Lessons from Other Nations France From 1970 to 2008, vehicle kilometers of travel on roads in France increased 200 percent (from 182 billion to 550 billion annually) and highway fatalities declined by 74 percent (from 16,400 to 4,300) (OECD n.d.; OECD and International Transport Forum 2010); consequently, fatalities per vehicle kilometer declined by 91 percent. The rate of 0.78 fatalities per 100 million vehicle kilometers of motor vehicle travel in 2008 was equal to the rate in the United States but remained higher than that in several high-income countries. France has achieved among the steepest declines in fatality rate in the past decade of the OECD countries for which data are available, reducing fatalities per vehicle kilometer by 6.9 percent per year in the 1997–2008 period, compared with 2.4 percent per year in the United States (see Figure 1-1 in Chapter 1). Total fatalities fell by 49 percent from 1997 to 2008, including a 21 percent reduction from 2002 to 2003. Program Evolution and Planning During the 1990s, laws and enforcement efforts against unsafe driver behavior were strengthened. In 1992 a point system was introduced that imposed license suspensions for accumulated infractions. The legal limit for a driver’s blood alcohol content (BAC) was lowered to 0.7 grams per liter in 1994 and to 0.5 in 1995. Starting in 1994, license points were assessed for failure to wear seat belts. Speeding penalties were increased and speed enforcement intensified in the late 1990s. Highway safety had become an increasingly visible political issue during this period (Documentation Française 2006; OECD and ECMT 2006a, 6). The earlier efforts were substantially reinforced after the president of France announced in 2002 that road safety would be one of the priority initiatives of his new term of office. Political sponsorship at the highest level allowed prompt action on a plan for reducing crashes by intensified enforcement that government agencies had been developing for a period of years (Documentation Française 2006; OECD and ECMT 2006a, 3). Political commitment has been sustained. The Interministerial Committee on Road Safety that directs the program has twice- yearly meetings chaired by the prime minister. It sets government policy on highway safety with the participation of the two national police agencies, the transportation agency, the justice ministry, the health ministry, and the safety statistical agency. The centerpiece of the initiative is an automated speed limit enforcement system. One thousand radar and camera apparatuses were in operation by 2005, 1,850 by 2007, and 2,300 by April 2009. Two thousand additions were planned between 2008 and 2012 (Documentation Française 2006; CISR 2006, 6; OECD and International Transport Forum 2008a; Carnis 2008; ONISR 2009a). Sites that had high frequencies of speed-related crashes and that met other criteria were identified as locations for automated speed enforcement. Most sites are on undivided roads with two-way traffic (ONISR 2005, 4). Both fixed and movable cameras are deployed. A national speed enforcement center monitors the enforcement devices via a dedicated telecommunication network, issues citations, and collects fines. The other principal measures in the current French initiative are increased penalties for drunk driving and for failure to use seat belts or motorcycle helmets, introduction of a probationary 6-month license for new drivers, and a road safety infrastructure improvement program. The selection of emphasis areas was guided by analyses that showed that speed and alcohol were contributing factors in large shares of fatal crashes (Raynal 2003; ONISR 2005, 6).
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National Safety Programs in Benchmark Countries and the United States 59 France’s annual traffic safety review highlights interventions aimed at driver behavior. However, the report acknowledges (ONISR 2008, 22) that among the most effective available interventions are improvements to infrastructure, citing in particular treatment of roadside obstacles and separation (e.g., by barriers) of opposing lanes on high-volume two-lane roads. It does not describe the extent of such improvements in France. A safety-motivated infrastructure program that is documented is roundabout installation at road junctions. The number of roundabouts in France increased from 10,000 in 1993 to 30,000 in 2008, and roundabouts continue to be installed at an average rate of 1,000 per year (Scrase 2008; Guichet 2005). French evaluations indicate that installing a roundabout at an intersection reduces the rate of injury crashes by at least 50 percent, and studies in the United States and other countries have reported similar benefits (Fuller 2008). A benefit–cost evaluation of the French roundabout program has not been conducted (Scrase 2008, 3), but these intersection improvements and programs to reduce roadside hazards and install lane separation probably have contributed to the reduction in France’s fatality rate. Performance Monitoring The chronology of actions alone does not reveal what role the recent safety initiative has played in producing the downward trend in road fatalities. The general trend has been established for decades and the principal measures of the initiative were not in full force until 2004, whereas the sharpest 1-year reduction in fatalities was from 2002 to 2003. However, data are available that allow a more detailed examination of program impacts. France has strong capabilities for evaluating the effects of safety countermeasures by means of its centralized, nationwide program of monitoring of highway crashes, speeds, and enforcement activities. Data are rapidly collected, analyzed, and published; for example, monthly reports on traffic injuries and fatalities and three-times-yearly reports on speed trends by road class and vehicle type are published shortly after the end of the reporting periods (ONISR 2009b). Enforcement data document the substantial increase in effort after the start of the 2002 initiative. Speeding citations, which had increased 31 percent from 2000 to 2003, nearly doubled from 2003 to 2004, the result of the automated enforcement system. The total of license point penalties assessed increased 44 percent in 2004 compared with 2003, and license suspensions for accumulated points penalties increased 87 percent. These increases were largely the result of speed enforcement; the number of alcohol tests administered increased only 5 percent in 2004 (OECD and ECMT 2006a; ONISR 2005; ONISR 2008). Speed data appear to show the results of stepped-up enforcement. The percentage of light vehicles in free-flowing traffic exceeding the speed limit by more than 10 km/h from 2000 to 2008 was as follows (ONISR 2006b; ONISR 2009a; ONISR 2010): Year Percentage More Than 10 Year Percentage More Than 10 km/h over Limit km/h over Limit 2000 36 2005 19 2001 36 2006 15 2002 34 2007 14 2003 27 2008 (8 months) 12 2004 21 2009 10
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60 Special Report 300: Achieving Traffic Safety Goals in the United States: Lessons from Other Nations Measurements for monitoring speed trends are taken independently of measurements for enforcement and at locations not in proximity to cameras. The overall level of enforcement effort, growth in enforcement effort over the past decade, and progress in the degree of compliance with traffic laws have been substantial. For example, moving violations cited increased by 166 percent, license suspensions by 137 percent, and alcohol tests by 31 percent from 1998 to 2007. Vehicle kilometers of road travel increased by 11 percent over the period. The alcohol test rate was 279 tests per thousand drivers in 2007 (Table 3-1). The increasing rate of positive alcohol tests in spite of increased testing frequency is attributed to better targeting of testing with respect to location and time (ONISR 2008, 166). Seat belt and motorcycle helmet use rates are among the highest in the world. Belt use by front seat occupants is 98 percent overall, 99 percent on autoroutes, and 97 percent in urban areas. Helmet use is 89 to 99 percent depending on the road class (ONISR 2008, 135, 161, 202). These relatively high rates presumably reflect enforcement effort. The intensity of enforcement is evidently considerably higher in France than in the United States, although comparison is difficult because U.S. jurisdictions generally do not monitor enforcement systematically or comprehensively. France’s capability for collection, analysis, and publication of nationwide data on intermediate outputs and measures of enforcement effort is integral to its safety program and is in marked contrast with U.S. practices. Intermediate output measures of enforcement efforts are measures of behavior change caused by the enforcement (e.g., changes in speed and in belt use in response to enforcement). An intermediate output measure for a road infrastructure improvement program would be quantities of kinds of safety-enhancing features installed (e.g., numbers of roundabouts replacing intersections). TABLE 3-1 Enforcement Level of Effort in France, 1998 and 2007 Number Percent Number per (thousands) Change, 1,000 Drivers, 1998–2007 2007 1998 2007 Total moving violations cited 4,884 12,972 +166 322 Speed limit violations 1,084 8,098 +647 201 Failure to wear seat belt 635 407 –36 10 Driver’s license suspensions for impaired driving, speeding, or points 110 261 +137 6 Alcohol tests 8,178 11,230 +29 279 Preventive test (i.e., not 6,836 8,941 +31 222 subsequent to crash or violation) Positive tests 167 376 +125 9 Fatalities 8.49 4.62 –49 Licensed drivers 40,322 NOTE: Citations include those issued by the two national police forces, which have jurisdiction on all roads and streets and account for most enforcement activity. Citations by municipal police are not included. SOURCE: ONISR 2008, 14, 165–168, 172.
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National Safety Programs in Benchmark Countries and the United States 61 As an illustrative comparison, the state of Pennsylvania reports that in 2008, at all sobriety checkpoints and roving patrols targeting impaired driving conducted by state and local police, there were 227,000 “motorist contacts” (i.e., drivers stopped and observed by police), a rate of 26 motorists contacted per 1,000 licensed drivers (PennDOT n.d., 16; FHWA 2009b, Table DL-1C). Most motorists contacted would not have been administered alcohol tests. The French rate (Table 3-1) of 222 drivers per 1,000 subjected to preventive alcohol tests (i.e., tests not subsequent to a crash or citation) is 10 times the Pennsylvania rate of motorist contacts. In New York State in 2007, 64 speeding tickets per 1,000 licensed drivers were issued by state and local police (New York State Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee 2008, 22). Perhaps surprisingly, in view of the extent of its automated speed control system, the French rate was only three times higher, 201 tickets per 1,000 drivers. The rate of ticketing for failure to wear seat belts in 2007 was higher in New York than in France (41 per 1,000 drivers in New York versus 10 in France), probably reflecting the high rate of belt use in France (98 percent for front seat occupants compared with 83 percent in New York in 2007). Evaluations The safety statistical agency has estimated that 40 percent of the reduction of fatalities in 2003 (Chapelon 2004) and 75 percent of the total reduction in casualties from 2002 through 2005 (CISR 2006, 6; ONISR 2006a) can be attributed to speed reductions over the period. The speed and enforcement data suggest that the speed reduction was the result of the enforcement effort. Reduced drunk driving, increased use of seat belts, a slowing of the rate of traffic growth, and unidentified factors also are reported to have contributed to the fatality decline (Chapelon 2004). The estimates of the effect of the speed control program were not based on analysis of the correlation between changes in speed and changes in fatalities on French roads in the period of introduction of the program. Rather, they were derived from a speed-versus-fatalities relationship extracted from a review of the accident research literature, which was then applied to the observed change in speed on French roads in the period (ONISR 2006a, 44). Summary Observations At least four circumstances seem to have been key to France’s recent successful effort to reduce traffic fatalities. First, the program has received sustained high-level political direction. Second, centralization of administration, together with the parliamentary system of government, allows the government to act quickly and on a nationwide scale to implement policies and coordinate activities among agencies and to plan and carry out a consistent long-term strategy. Third, the government’s ability to take effective action has been facilitated by strong capabilities for data collection, evaluation, research, and planning. The speed and efficiency of data collection are an example of the advantages of centralization. Finally, public attitudes and public communication probably have been major factors in the outcome of the program. With 2,300 cameras on 950,000 km of roads, the French automatic speed enforcement network is not very dense, yet the overall enforcement effort has produced a worthwhile change in driver behavior. Substantial publicity has accompanied the speed camera program and is believed to have amplified its effect. To recruit support, the government has undertaken an outreach program aimed at businesses affected by work-related traffic casualties, awards grants to numerous private safety advocacy organizations, and provides technical
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82 Special Report 300: Achieving Traffic Safety Goals in the United States: Lessons from Other Nations State implementations of the new SHSP requirement were reviewed in case studies of four states prepared in 2007 in NCHRP Project 17-18(016), Creating a Traffic Safety Culture, and in a 2008 examination of six state plans conducted for FHWA (More and Munnich 2008). In addition, a report by an industry group summarized the priorities identified in the plans of 21 states (ATSSA 2007). Content of the SHSPs The purposes of the AASHTO guidance and of the federal SHSP requirement are (a) to encourage the states to take a multiyear perspective in program planning and in setting goals and (b) to coordinate all government activities affecting traffic safety, including vehicle and driver regulations, enforcement, highway design and operation, and emergency medical response. The older federally required annual highway safety plans addressed to NHTSA are narrower in scope; they address only programs funded with federal grants, in particular the NHTSA- administered highway safety grant programs and the hazard elimination program. Before the 2005 federal requirement, some states (e.g., Washington, Oregon, and Wisconsin) had already prepared strategic safety plans in keeping with the AASHTO guidelines. After 2005, all states prepared SHSPs, typically modeled on the AASHTO SHSP, with additions to ensure that all the federally required elements are present. Most of the plans identify a list of, typically, five to six highest-priority program areas (e.g., reducing impaired driving and increasing seat belt use). The areas usually correspond to plan elements in the AASHTO document (ATSSA 2007; More and Munnich 2008, 7). The discussion of each priority program area in the plan often concludes with a list of relevant strategies (i.e., countermeasures), following the format of the AASHTO model plan. In some plans the strategies are concrete and specific, but in others they are stated generally. The strategies sometimes are described as “suggested” or “recommended,” acknowledging that the authors of the plan cannot make a commitment that the strategies will be carried out (More and Munnich 2008, 4; PennDOT 2006, 8–16). The states’ annual highway safety plans addressed to NHTSA may refer to the priority areas identified in the SHSP and report on actions and progress toward SHSP goals. For example, Pennsylvania’s 2009 Highway Safety Plan lists goals for the year related to each of the six focus areas in the state’s strategic plan. For the focus area of reducing impaired driving, the 2009 goal is to make 500,000 motorist contacts through driving-under-the-influence enforcement activities (PennDOT 2008, 16). In summarizing the SHSPs’ contents, the FHWA-sponsored review concluded that “the six plans varied significantly in their overall completeness and depth. . . . Some plans prioritized the issues in each emphasis area. Others took a more general approach, which did little more than satisfy federal reporting requirements. . . . It is important to note however, that this was the first time some states had created a safety plan. As these plans are revised, it is likely they will become more complete and focused” (More and Munnich 2008, 7). In 2009 FHWA released a draft SHSP implementation process model (FHWA 2009a). The document and its supporting material are intended as a guide to the states for developing and acting on their strategic safety plans. The guide is based on a review of the experience of six model states and was produced in collaboration with NHTSA and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. A 6-month, 10-state pilot test of the guide was conducted in 2009, and a revised version was to have been issued in 2010.
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National Safety Programs in Benchmark Countries and the United States 83 Observations Concerning the SHSP Requirement The state offices preparing the SHSPs are severely limited in their ability to make multiyear commitments to sustain a strategy or to provide resources. The plans are prepared by the executive branch agencies responsible for the state’s highways, with input from other state agencies and from local governments. However, a state plan cannot commit local governments to expend resources or to follow state direction in law enforcement and other activities relevant to safety. States can provide incentives for local cooperation, but they have limited resources for this purpose. In addition, safety program budgets are determined year to year by the legislature. The executive agency plan cannot commit the legislature to any level of funding or to any specific highway safety policy. The proponents of strategic planning expected the agencies writing the SHSPs to publish visionary and comprehensive statements of aspirations for highway safety over the next decade. However, the agencies, faced with the political reality of their limited authority, often produce plans that address concretely only the limited range of actions under their control. The position of the U.S. state executive agencies contrasts with circumstances in most of the benchmark nations. Highway administration in most other high-income countries is more centralized than in the United States, and government ministers, at least in some cases, have been able to make multiyear commitments to a policy course and for provision of resources. The SHSPs cannot provide for or ensure accountability because of the weak position of the state agencies preparing them and because of technical limits on state planning capacities. Plans do not present quantitative arguments projecting how much the proposed countermeasures, individually or collectively, will contribute toward attaining the quantitative safety goals. For example, many states list curbing aggressive driving (i.e., the complex of hazardous behaviors that includes speeding, illegal passing, tailgating, weaving, and ignoring signals) or speeding as among their priorities. However, few states have any systematic measures of aggressive driving (e.g., periodic speed surveys), and no state can project, on the basis of research evidence, the expected quantitative impact on aggressive driving or speeding (or on the resulting casualties) of the proposed countermeasures, at the level of effort that will be available. Evidence is not available for determining how the states have changed their safety programs since the introduction of the strategic plans. To determine whether changes have occurred, systematic tracking of measures of level of effort and of intermediate outputs would be necessary. In addition, without such information, plans cannot analyze the level of effort or resources required to carry out the strategies they describe or how these requirements compare with available resources. A 2008 NHTSA report acknowledges that only one intermediate output measure, seat belt usage measured by roadside survey, is generally available for use in federal and state highway safety planning and management and that only limited enforcement level of effort measures (numbers of citations and arrests for certain violations) are available. NHTSA states that it intends to cooperate with the Governors Highway Safety Association in promoting speed monitoring as an additional intermediate output measure as well as in promoting other measures of enforcement effort (Hedlund 2008, i–ii). Shortcomings in state planning parallel the description in the World Bank Guidelines for the Conduct of Road Safety Management Capacity Reviews of safety programs in countries where safety management capacity is limited and a strong lead safety agency is absent. The consequences of this lack, in the World Bank’s observation, are that “coordination arrangements can be ineffective, supporting legislation fragmented, funding insufficient and poorly targeted,
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84 Special Report 300: Achieving Traffic Safety Goals in the United States: Lessons from Other Nations promotional efforts narrowly and sporadically directed to key road user groups, monitoring and evaluation systems ill-developed, and knowledge transfer limited. Interventions are fragmented and often do not reflect good practice. Little is known about the results they achieve” (Bliss and Breen 2009, 16). The World Bank guidelines include a checklist for evaluating the adequacy of lead agency functions and powers (Bliss and Breen 2009, 38) that states could apply in assessing their own safety organizational structure. The constraints on the authority of the agencies preparing the SHSPs to make long-term commitments with regard to strategy or resources are an unavoidable aspect of U.S. government institutions. Despite these constraints, conditional commitments could be included in the plans. That is, the plans could contain statements from the safety agencies that if they are given certain specified resources, they will produce certain specified safety results. For such commitments to be credible, the states would need much stronger capabilities than they now have for monitoring and evaluating the costs and benefits of safety programs. Uniform Guidelines for State Highway Safety Programs The law that establishes the federal highway safety grant program requires that state highway safety programs, to be eligible for federal grants, be “in accordance with uniform guidelines promulgated by the Secretary [of Transportation]” (23 USC 402a). NHTSA has published 19 current guidelines, each outlining procedures for a particular safety program element. Among them are guidelines on motorcycle safety, driver education, licensing, judicial services, impaired driving, traffic records, emergency medical services, pedestrian and bicycle safety, traffic law enforcement, speed management, occupant protection, vehicle inspection, vehicle registration, legal codes, prosecutor training, debris cleanup, pupil transportation, accident investigation, and roadway safety. The program elements addressed by the guidelines correspond to activities for which the states may receive federal grants administered by NHTSA. The guidelines (originally called “uniform standards”) have been a feature of the federal highway safety grant program since it was founded in the Highway Safety Act of 1966. NHTSA explains the purpose of the guidelines today as follows (NHTSA n.d. a): These guidelines offer direction to States in formulating their highway safety plans for highway safety efforts that are supported with section 402 and other grant funds. The guidelines provide a framework for developing a balanced highway safety program and serve as a tool with which States can assess the effectiveness of their own programs. NHTSA encourages States to use these guidelines and build upon them to optimize the effectiveness of highway safety programs conducted at the State and local levels. The difficulties of developing and applying safety program standards in the federal context are indicated by an examination of the speed management guideline, revised in 2006 (NHTSA 2006). The guideline has seven sections: program management; problem identification; engineering countermeasures; communications program; enforcement countermeasures; legislation, regulation, and policy; and data and evaluation. The program that the guideline specifies reflects present understanding of the critical elements in successful traffic safety programs. It is consistent with internationally recognized best practices as described in the report of the OECD Speed Management Working Group (OECD and ECMT 2006b) and in the Global Road Safety Partnership (GRSP) speed management manual (GRSP 2008). It
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National Safety Programs in Benchmark Countries and the United States 85 emphasizes the value of automated enforcement, as do the OECD and GRSP documents. However, whether states or local governments possess the technical or managerial capacity to conduct the program outlined in the guideline is questionable. For most jurisdictions, following the guideline would require a radical change in management practices and a large increase in resources devoted to traffic safety. A state that wished to implement such a program would face significant obstacles. It would have no basis for estimating the budget required or identifying the personnel and other resources needed, no readily available source of technical support, and no basis for communicating to senior executives and the legislature what the impact of implementing such a program would be. For example, the problem identification section of the guideline calls for rigorous and detailed speed monitoring and evaluation of the effect of changes in speed limits (NHTSA 2006, 2): Each State should provide leadership, training, and technical assistance to: • Monitor and report travel speed trends across the entire localized road network; • Identify local road segments where excessive and inappropriate vehicle speeds contribute to speeding-related crashes; • Monitor the effects on vehicle speeds and crash risk of setting appropriate speed limits; and • Coordinate, monitor, and evaluate the short- and long-term effect of State legislative and local changes that establish appropriate speed laws and posted speed limits on mobility and safety. However, as the section on speeding countermeasures in Chapter 4 describes, systematic speed monitoring today is rare among state and local transportation agencies and (as noted in the section above on safety plans) seldom used for safety program planning. States also would encounter difficulties in following the section of the guideline on communication (NHTSA 2006, 3), which stipulates the following: The State should aid established Speed Management Working Groups by providing the leadership, training, and technical assistance necessary to: • Develop and evaluate culturally relevant public awareness campaigns to educate drivers on the importance of obeying speed limits and the potential consequences of speeding; • Use market research to identify and clearly understand how, when, and where to reach high-risk drivers; Most states have conducted media campaigns aimed at speeding or aggressive driving, and NHTSA offers technical advice on these campaigns (NHTSA 2009; NHTSA n.d. c). However, actual evaluations of safety impacts or cost-effectiveness of publicity campaigns are not available for guiding a state or local agency attempting to design such a marketing program (Hedlund et al. 2009, 3-21, 4-11, 4-13). State and local agencies can find more extensive qualitative discussions of procedures in the NCHRP report A Guide for Reducing Speeding-Related Crashes (Neuman et al. 2009), one
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86 Special Report 300: Achieving Traffic Safety Goals in the United States: Lessons from Other Nations of a series of guides developed to help state and local agencies implement the AASHTO SHSP. However, the NCHRP report offers few examples to demonstrate the feasibility of the methods proposed and no information about effectiveness. The report does not appear to be keyed to the NHTSA guideline; for example, it offers no advice for carrying out the speed monitoring and evaluation activities that NHTSA calls for. Additional guides are published by NHTSA, the International Association of Chiefs of Police, and others, but practical documentation of actual implementations that reduced crashes and casualties is lacking. Quantitative Analysis Aids for Safety Planning Safety planning and management require models analogous to those available to transportation administrators for air quality, pavement condition, and congestion evaluation. Needs include systems for screening of road networks, diagnosis of crash causes, and selection of cost- beneficial countermeasures. Formal safety planning and management tools recently developed, in part with federal government sponsorship and with sponsorship of the states through NCHRP, can support some of these capabilities if the states devote the necessary resources to their proper use. Among such tools are the Interactive Highway Safety Design Model, an expert system to evaluate the safety of highways in the planning and design stage, and SafetyAnalyst, an expert system to screen the road network for high-hazard locations and assess costs and benefits of countermeasures (Box 3-7). These analysis aids can strengthen state safety planning by supporting assessment of how the state’s capital program contributes to meeting safety objectives. States can use the aids in safety plans to set quantitative targets for their hazard elimination programs and for the safety performance of planned new construction and to help guide allocation of resources among roadway safety improvements and other safety programs. The planning and analysis resources listed in Box 3-7 apply to highway design and traffic control. No analogous tools exist to aid decisions concerning behavioral interventions. However, since 2005, NHTSA has published and periodically revised Countermeasures That Work (Hedlund et al. 2009), a compendium of information on the effectiveness, current use, costs, and implementation time for most behavioral countermeasures (including measures against impaired driving, speeding, and aggressive and distracted driving; promotion of seat belt use; regulation of younger and older drivers; and motorcycle, pedestrian, and bicycle safety), intended as a guide to safety administrators designing such programs.
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National Safety Programs in Benchmark Countries and the United States 87 Box 3-7 Analysis Tools and Planning Resources for State Safety Programs • AASHTO SHSP Implementation Guides (AASHTO n.d.): Nineteen volumes in the NCHRP Report 500 series identifying proven and unproven strategies, keyed to the AASHTO plan • Integrated Safety Management Process (NCHRP Report 501) (Bahar et al. 2003) — Outlines procedure to optimize highway safety; emphasizes integration of relevant agencies — Measurable targets linked to federal requirements for state safety plans — Component of AASHTO safety planning initiative • Interactive Highway Safety Design Model (FHWA n.d. b) — Expert system to evaluate highways in the planning and design stage — Predicts expected crash rates on tangents and curves according to cross section, median type, radius of curvature, and so forth — Determines whether design violates standards — Future module is for prediction of driver behavior (e.g., speed) — Developed by FHWA — Coordinated with development and organization of SafetyAnalyst and the Highway Safety Manual • SafetyAnalyst (FHWA n.d. c) — Applicable to existing roads — Expert system to 1. Screen road network for locations with higher-than-expected (for facility type) crashes 2. Determine crash patterns (e.g., rear-end) 3. Diagnose the driver errors leading to those crashes and propose related countermeasures 4. Assess costs and benefits of countermeasures given crash frequencies and expected effectiveness — Intended to guide project selection and resource allocation • Highway Safety Manual (AASHTO 2010) — Provides tools for evaluating safety consequences of road design and operational decisions — Includes the first U.S. compendium of accident modification factors [estimates of safety consequences of design choices (e.g., for cross section, radius of curvature, median type, shoulder type)] with a sound statistical basis — Is expected to elevate the importance of safety considerations in the project development process • Human Factors Guidelines for Road Systems (Campbell et al. 2008) — Comprehensive set of guidelines in uniform, practical format for design of highway features (e.g., stopping sight distance, decision sight distance) based on driver requirements — Complement to Highway Safety Manual for completing detailed designs
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88 Special Report 300: Achieving Traffic Safety Goals in the United States: Lessons from Other Nations Summary Observations on U.S. Nationally Organized Safety Initiatives Evidence is lacking that the initiatives at the national level to reform traffic safety program management methods are sufficient to have had an impact on established practices. USDOT- sponsored demonstrations of new methods have been conducted with limited resources, and, at least in some instances, evaluations were inadequate to show that the methods demonstrated yielded results. Dissemination of lessons learned from the demonstrations sometimes appears to have been ineffectual. The primary purpose of demonstrations is not basic research on countermeasure effectiveness; however, if the goal is to induce states to adopt effective methods, convincing evidence of effectiveness will be an essential selling point. The NHTSA Uniform Guidelines, originally envisioned as standards defining acceptable practice, are technically valid but presuppose technical and institutional capacities that state and local governments generally do not possess. The impact of the SHSPs, a major national initiative aimed at changing the methods and procedures of traffic safety programs, is not yet evident. The state government agencies preparing the plans have limited control over most of the resources and policies that form the substance of traffic safety programs. Therefore, the plans do not embody commitments either to effort or to results. Given this political reality, an alternative and potentially more valuable format for the SHSPs, rather than the lists of suggested or recommended actions that many now contain, would be to propose conditional commitments; that is, the agencies administering state safety programs would make commitments to produce specified safety results, provided they are given specified levels of resources. Resources include funding as well as legal authority; for example, funding for enforcement and publicity together with legal authority for sobriety checkpoints as components of a state’s anti–drunk driving program. REFERENCES Abbreviations AASHTO American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials ATSSA American Traffic Safety Services Association CISR Comité Interministériel de la Sécurité Routière DfT Department for Transport ECMT European Council of Ministers of Transport FHWA Federal Highway Administration GRSP Global Road Safety Partnership NHTSA National Highway Traffic Safety Administration OECD Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development ONISR Observatoire National Interministériel de Sécurité Routière PACTS Parliamentary Advisory Council for Transport Safety PennDOT Pennsylvania Department of Transportation AASHTO. 2005. AASHTO Strategic Highway Safety Plan. Washington, D.C. AASHTO. 2010. Highway Safety Manual: 1st Edition. Washington, D.C. AASHTO. n.d. Implementation Guides. http://safety.transportation.org/guides.aspx. ATSSA. 2007. Strategic Highway Safety Plans: Compilation of State Safety Priorities. March.
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National Safety Programs in Benchmark Countries and the United States 91 Newstead, S., I. Bobovski, S. Hosking, and M. Cameron. 2004. Evaluation of the Queensland Road Safety Initiatives Package. Report 272. Monash University Accident Research Centre, Dec. Newstead, S. V., M. H. Cameron, and S. Narayan. 1998. Further Modelling of Some Major Factors Influencing Road Trauma Trends in Victoria: 1990–96. Monash University, April. New York State Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee. 2008. New York State Highway Safety Strategic Plan: FFY 2009. NHTSA. 2006. Highway Safety Program Guideline No. 19: Speed Management. Nov. NHTSA. 2009. Integrated National Communications Plan. March. http://www.trafficsafetymarketing.gov/commplans.cfm. NHTSA. n.d. a. Highway Safety Program Guidelines. http://22.214.171.124/nhtsa/whatsup/tea21/tea21programs/. NHTSA. n.d. b. State Highway Safety Documents. http://www.nhtsa.dot.gov/nhtsa/whatsup/SAFETEAweb/index.htm. NHTSA. n.d. c. Traffic Safety Marketing. http://www.trafficsafetymarketing.gov/index.cfm. OECD. n.d. International Road Traffic Accident Database. http://www.swov.nl/cognos/cgi- bin/ppdscgi.exe?toc=%2FEnglish%2FIRTAD. OECD and ECMT. 2006a. Country Reports on Road Safety Performance: France. Joint Transport Research Centre, July. OECD and ECMT. 2006b. Speed Management. Joint Transport Research Centre. OECD and International Transport Forum. 2008a. Country Reports on Road Safety Performance: France. July. OECD and International Transport Forum. 2008b. Country Reports on Road Safety Performance: Sweden. July. OECD and International Transport Forum. 2008c. Country Reports on Road Safety Performance: United Kingdom (Great Britain). July. OECD and International Transport Forum. 2008d. Towards Zero: Ambitious Road Safety Targets and the Safe System Approach: Summary Document. Joint Transport Research Centre. http://www.internationaltransportforum.org/jtrc/safety/targets/08TargetsSummary.pdf. OECD and International Transport Forum. 2010. Press Release: A Record Decade for Road Safety: International Transport Forum at the OECD Publishes Road Death Figures for 33 Countries. Sept. 15. OECD and International Transport Forum. n.d. Country Reports on Road Safety Performance. http://www.internationaltransportforum.org/jtrc/safety/targets/Performance/performance.html. ONISR. 2005. French Road Safety Policy. http://www.securiteroutiere.gouv.fr/IMG/pdf/FRSP.pdf. ONISR. 2006a. Impact du Contrôle Sanction Automatisé sur la Sécurité Routière (2003–2005). ONISR. 2006b. Observatoire des Vitesses: Second Quadrimestre 2006. Oct. 20. http://www.securiteroutiere.gouv.fr/IMG/pdf/observatoire_vitesse.pdf. ONISR. 2008. La Sécurité Routière en France: Bilan de l’Année 2007. ONISR. 2009a. Observatoire des Vitesses: Premier Quadrimestre 2009. July. ONISR. 2009b. Observatoire National: Statistiques des Accidents. http://www2.securiteroutiere.gouv.fr/infos-ref/observatoire/index.html. ONISR. 2009c. La Sécurité Routière en France: Bilan de l’Année 2008. ONISR. 2010. Bilan de la Sécurité Routière du 1er Semestre 2010 en Données Provisoires: Premiers Chiffres. July. PA Consulting Group and UCL. 2005. The National Safety Camera Programme: Four-Year Evaluation Report. Dec. PACTS. 2008. Annual Review 07/08. Sept. 8. http://www.pacts.org.uk/briefings-and- articles.php?id=69. Peden, M., R. Scurfield, D. Sleet, D. Mohan, A. A. Hyder, E. Jarawan, and C. Mathers (eds.). 2004. World Report on Road Traffic Injury Prevention. World Health Organization. PennDOT. 2006. Comprehensive Strategic Highway Safety Improvement Plan. Oct. PennDOT. 2008. Highway Safety Plan: Federal Fiscal Year 2009.
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