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Integrating Safety Analysis in Project Development in Louisiana

Original publication: Roadway Safety Data and Analysis Case Study: Safety Analysis in Project Development in Louisiana

Publication Year: 2014


The scope of this case study includes all public roads in Louisiana, and multiple operations within the LADOTD. Safety practices are implemented in the following areas:

  • Maintenance: The project designers implement low cost safety countermeasures into the project such as pavement wedge, rumble strips, advance warning signs,and others from a list of baseline safety improvements provided by LADOTD. If a Road Safety Assessment/Audit (RSA) was performed for the project, then further countermeasures can be implemented as detailed in the RSA final report. Annually, the LADOTD processes approximately six-to-eight RSAs for preservation projects over the course of the year.1
  • Design: The crash data for the project site is reviewed to check for an abnormal section or of a prevailing collision type. In some cases, a predictive analysis is performed to compare the built condition to the existing condition. Engineers consider low cost safety improvements, and use the Crash Modification Factor (CMF) Clearinghouse to help select countermeasures. Overall, less than 10 percent of projects have design exceptions, which include projects in both rural and urban settings.2
  • Environmental: Engineers gather data from the Highway Performance Monitoring System (HMPS). Gathering the full data element list required for the Interactive Highway Safety Design Model (IHSDM) is labor intensive and consumed a majority of the time spent on the safety analysis. Engineers convert crashes to various dollar amounts based on severity of the crash by using a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) report titled “The Economic Impact of Motor Vehicle Crashes”3 and including the consumer price index.4 Finally, the designers consider the results of the cost-benefit analysis to select the preferred alternative.
  • Work Zone Construction and Operations: Engineers perform a safety analysis for the Transportation Management Plan (TMP) and select the appropriate countermeasures to address identified issues as part of the construction phase. Analysts also use the CMF Clearinghouse to help identify countermeasures based on the observed crash types.
  • Local roadways:The LADOTD funds a local road safety program. Engineers on staff at LADOTD work with the local agencies to perform the same type of advanced safety analysis that is performed for the State roads. Currently, the program is working on a systemic curve program.5

Key Accomplishments

  • LADOTD established safety review guidelines in maintenance, design, environmental review, work zone construction and operations, and local roadway coordination.
  • Safety data analysis is available to support decision makers' compliance with the safety review guidelines in each area.
  • An example Transportation Management Plan increased work zone safety on an interstate (I-12) project by identifying an abnormally high crash rate and over-representation of speed related crashes which were addressed with additional enforcement.
  • An example design exception showed the benefit of a low cost countermeasure in lieu of curve straightening on Interstate 10 based on an alternatives analysis using the Interactive Highway Safety Design Model.

LADOTD has promoted a statewide safety focus by integrating safety data analysis into a wide range of LADOTD and local agency decision processes.


Through this effort, LADOTD has increased safety awareness throughout the Department and with local agencies. Cost savings, though difficult to precisely quantify, have improved the State's ability to use available funding for safety improvement in multiple contexts, and resulted in successful implementation of low-cost alternatives, and reduced crash risk during construction.


  1. Road Safety Assessment (RSA) Process for Systems Preservation - April Renard, Dan Magri, Jim Chapman, Simone Ardoin, Mark Chenevert. Telephone Interview. April 8, 2014.
  2. Safety Analysis in Design Exceptions - April Renard, Dan Magri, Chad Winchester, Joachim Umeozulu. Telephone Interview. April 9, 2014.
  3. Blincoe, L, et al., et al. The Economic Impact of Motor Vehicle Crashes, 2010. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Transportation National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 2014. DOT HS 812 013.
  4. Applying the Highway Safety Manual in NEPA using IHSDM. Renard, April. Washington, DC: Transportation Research Board, 2012.
  5. Safety Analysis and Data Collection for Local Roads - April Renard, Jason Chapman. Telephone Interview. April 3, 2014.


April Renard, P.E.
Engineer 5-LADOTD
(225) 379-1919

Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development (LADOTD)
Highway Safety Section 1201 Capitol Access Road
Baton Rouge, LA 70802

Publication Year: 2014

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