Potential Crash Reduction Benefits of Safety Improvement Projects
The Idaho Transportation Department (ITD) safety improvement program allocates funds in order to maximize the benefits of safety improvement projects that target specific high-crash locations and highway sections. Currently no system exists to track safety investments and document their results in order to ensure the most cost-effective use of limited ITD resources. Since SAFETEA-LU calls for a data-driven decision process, systematic research is needed to aid ITD in assessing safety investments using a performance-measure-based system. This research will provide a comprehensive evaluation of the effectiveness of selected crash countermeasures currently in use and those being considered for implementation on Idaho’s state highways.
The proposed research addresses several ITD and USDOT strategic research priorities in the area of safety as identified by the ITD state-wide safety plan and in the USDOT’s “Research, Development, and Technology Plan.” The document states that the USDOT aims to work “with stakeholders to build safety into the transportation infrastructure and into operational procedures through research, planning, design, engineering, incentives, and incorporation of safety-enhancing technologies. Increasing the implementation of infrastructure and operational improvements focused on enhancing the ability of drivers to remain on the roadway, reducing the adverse consequences of roadway departure, improving intersection safety, and protecting pedestrians in the roadway environment.” The data provided by this research will enable ITD to make informed safety improvement decisions by revealing the characteristics of crashes and assessing the safety impacts and cost-effectiveness of possible counter-measures.