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Building a Stronger Database for Predictive Safety Analysis

Publication Year: 2015


Rhode Island

Description

While many states have made significant strides towards the inclusion of all public roadways in their Highway Safety Improvement Program (HSIP) efforts, an evident disconnect often exists between the quality of safety data used for state-owned and local roadways. Whether due to budget restraints or a lack of proper channels to share information, state-level HSIP decision-makers are frequently forced to make programming decisions for local roads based on incomplete or inadequate data. Where local safety data is available, local roadways are still at a disadvantage due to the additional effort required to procure and process data outside of the statewide system.

The Rhode Island Department of Transportation (RIDOT) recently identified some of these issues within their own HSIP processes. They recognized that they needed to take a planned, stepwise approach to address these challenges, one that began with better location data for local roads. Specifically, only a portion of their local roadways were included in the same Linear Reference System as their state-owned roadways. This includes local roadways that were absent in the referencing system in the HSIP process and that required a time-consuming manual review that was subject to human error and interpretation. Although they were able to accommodate all roadways the State's HSIP, significant RIDOT staff efforts were required.

RIDOT is making a concerted effort to include all public roads in the State's Linear Referencing System to respond to this challenge and build a more comprehensive database for safety analysis. In addition, work is being done to collect data for every roadway in the State using the Model Inventory of Roadway Elements (MIRE). Not only will this enhance RIDOT's ability to accurately conduct advanced safety analysis, but it will also expand their data support to local governments. Together, these improvements to the statewide and local databases will ultimately result in more informed and effective decision-making.

To complement this analytic capability, RIDOT is also expanding their HSIP program to increase local government participation. Specifically, they are developing a local safety program that will provide training and resources to municipalities for making data-driven decisions. In addition, the State is establishing a dedicated fund for local projects/programs and providing municipalities with templates for proposing low-cost improvements for HSIP funding.

Key Accomplishments

  • RIDOT is implementing a long-term plan to help local governments understand the importance of good data in improving safety.
  • RIDOT has started collecting data for all public roads in the state to enable both the State and locals to use advanced safety analysis methods in the future.
  • To support local priorities, RIDOT is also developing training and technical resources to assist municipalities in making data-driven decisions.

Results

RIDOT is making a long-term investment in improving data for all public roads in the State and, in so doing, build a much stronger foundation for analytic safety decision-making. As a first step, RIDOT is including all roads in the State's Linear Referencing System and is collecting MIRE data for those roads, helping level the playing field for local governments and providing them with a pathway to compete for HSIP funding. This stepwise approach also ensures that the RIDOT can direct HSIP funds where it can contribute the most to reducing fatal and serious injury crashes, regardless of who owns and operates that part of the State's roadways system.

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Contacts

Sean Raymond, P.E.
HSIP Program Manager
Rhode Island Department of Transportation
Two Capitol Hill
Providence, RI, 02903
(401) 222-2694 ext. 4204
Fax: (401) 222-3006

Robert Rocchio, P.E.
Managing Engineer
Traffic Management
Rhode Island Department of Transportation
Two Capitol Hill
Providence, RI 02903
(401) 222-2694 ext. 4206
Fax: (401) 222-3006

Publication Year: 2015

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