Local Road Safety Audits: A New Approach to an Old Problem

This paper presents the South Jersey Transportation Planning Organization (SJTPO) Local Road Safety Audit Program, which identifies and implements low-cost, quick turnaround safety improvements in Southern New Jersey. The recent passage of SAFETEA-LU raises the profile of safety planning and operations in Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPOs). Since a disproportionate number of crashes occur on local, and often rural, two lane roads, SJTPO saw the need to develop a program to access federal safety funds for projects that could deliver an immediate benefit, and would be appropriate for implementation by local governments. According to the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), Road Safety Audits (RSAs) are a formal examination of an existing or future road or traffic project by an independent team of trained specialists. The main objectives of an RSA are to address the safe operation of a roadway and prepare a report that identifies potential safety problems. RSAs have been successfully employed in several states and in other countries, but infrequently at the local level. RSAs can raise awareness among local decision-makers by identifying low-cost, quick turnaround safety improvements that are expected to yield immediate safety benefits. SJTPO’s program is one of the first local programs of its kind, utilizing federal planning funds to systemically identify local road segments of concern, organize a team of independent specialists under the direction of an MPO, engage a consultant team for the audits and secure federal funding for recommended improvements. The SJTPO Program has been endorsed by the FHWA as a systematic way to identify safety projects, which enables the improvements to be funded with federal STP-SY funds. FHWA and the Roadway Safety Foundation recently selected SJTPO for a National Roadway Safety Award, and to date, over $1.5 Million in safety projects are complete or programmed on local roadways in SJTPO as a result of the RSA Program. With the opportunities afforded by SAFETEA-LU, local agencies can benefit from the RSA techniques employed by SJTPO.


  • English

Media Info

  • Media Type: CD-ROM
  • Features: Figures; Photos; Tables;
  • Pagination: 13p
  • Monograph Title: Tools of the Trade: 10th National Conference on Transportation Planning for Small and Medium-Sized Communities

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01044616
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS, TRB
  • Created Date: Mar 23 2007 11:47AM