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16-01 — Leading Practices in the Use of the Highway Safety Manual for Planning, Design and Operations

Performance based processes that use data driven safety performance offer significant potential for project and operating cost reduction. The Highway Safety Manual (HSM) is a resource that provides safety knowledge and tools in a useful form to facilitate improved decision-making based on such safety performance. While other initiatives have focused on analytical examples of implementation of the HSM, this scan will provide an opportunity for critical conversations around processes and the work force components not usually included in HSM implementation-related presentations or meetings that occur elsewhere.

This scan will evaluate the processes, job aids/tools, workforce training, and manner in which states have institutionalized the HSM as part of performance based processes and asset management in planning, design, and operations. The fiscally constrained environment that state DOTs operate in today requires revisiting assumptions about safety performance benefits as well as processes and decisions that drive meeting full safety standards. The HSM provides tools to allow agencies to change their design for safety of a facility from traditional “design standards” of the AASHTO Green Book, Roadside Guide, MUTCD, and state design manual to a more performance based statistical approach. Utilization of the HSM will help a DOT satisfy existing societal values of providing the highest level of safety performance with the financial and other resources provided to the DOT.

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Scan Results and Report

Implementation and Impact

Scan chair John Milton provided perspectives on the scan outcomes on the final day of the scan:


Scan Members

  • John Milton, Washington State DOT, AASHTO Chair
  • Michael Vaughn, Kentucky Transportation Cabinet
  • Samuel Sturtz, Iowa DOT
  • Dave Duncan, Tennessee DOT
  • Dennis Emidy, Maine DOT
  • Jerry Roche, FHWA
  • Darren Torbic, MRI Global, Subject Matter Expert

Workshop Participants

  • Alabama DOT
  • Champaign Urbana Urbanized Area Transportation Studies (CUUATS)
  • Florida DOT
  • Illinois DOT
  • Louisiana DOT
  • Maine DOT
  • Michigan DOT
  • Missouri DOT
  • Ohio DOT
  • Virginia DOT

Left to right: Jerry Roche (FHWA), John Milton (Washington, AASHTO Chair), Michael Vaughn (Kentucky), Sam Sturtz (Iowa), Dave Duncan (Tennessee), Darren Torbic (MRIGlobal, SME), Dennis Emidy (Maine)