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Safety Summit Yields Tenfold Increase in Number of Safety Applications Submitted by Local Agencies – Florida

Original publication: N/A

Publication Year: 2013

Describe the roadway safety situation or state before the new practice was implemented. What was the safety issue, problem, or gap?

In any given year, between 40 and 50% of the fatalities and serious injuries in Florida occur in local roads. The percentage of safety funds spent on local roads, however, has been at most between 4 and 8% per year. In order to further reduce fatalities and serious injuries, Florida DOT (FDOT) has identified the need to address safety concerns on the local roads.

Lower levels of safety funding on local roads was due to limited knowledge in local agencies of the state and Federal safety programs and their requirements. Local agencies were submitting an average of only three applications for safety improvement projects per year. To increase local-level applications for safety funding, FDOT needed to create a program that increased local-level awareness of programs and application processes. The District 7 (D7 - Tampa) Local Safety Summit was, and continues to be, an ambitious step in the development and implementation of a Local Road Safety Program.

What were the key challenges that the noteworthy practice sought to address?

Key challenges to address include:

  • Lack of knowledge on the part of local agencies of Federal and state safety programs and requirements
  • Lack of a single point of contact for all local agencies
  • Relatively high staff turnover at the local agencies (impacting the safety culture within the organization and the development of a consistent/long-term agency safety program)
  • Lack of staff with specialized knowledge of safety at some local agencies
  • A mechanism for assisting the local agencies to ensure their safety projects are submitted correctly and complete, and making the submittal process is simple as possible

Describe the new practice.

D7 launched an annual Safety Summit, a one-day seminar where local agencies, law enforcement, FDOT staff and D7 Safety Team members within District 7's jurisdiction discuss roadway safety. During the summit, FDOT and the Federal Highway Administration make presentations about applicable state and Federal safety requirements, programs, and processes for obtaining funding for local safety improvements. FDOT also links local agencies to “safety ambassadors” who help agencies understand options and funding opportunities for implementing roadway safety improvements on local roads.

D7 has also developed a “Local Agency Safety Funding Guide for Off-System Roadways” for local agencies that serves as a guide for the Highway Safety Improvement Program (HSIP) application process. The District also maintains a Safety Summit >web site that contains summit information, HSIP resources, and an online application agencies can use to submit their safety projects. (Local agencies continue to have the option of submitting their projects through the paper application process.)

List the key accomplishments that resulted from the new practice. Include the roadway safety improvements.

  • Established a framework and venue that fosters the exchange of local roads knowledge. As a result, local agencies have an improved understanding of the application process required to receive project funding.
  • As a result of the improved level of understanding regarding the application process, the number of project submissions made by local agencies increased from averaging 3 applications each year to 50+ applications per year.

What technical and/or institutional changes resulted from the new practice?

Institutional changes include:

  • Local agencies have a better understanding of how to request funding and submit applications for safety improvement projects.
  • Improved communications and coordination between D7 and local agencies has resulted in projects being delivered on-time and within budget.

What benefits were realized as a result of the practice?

Prior to the safety summits, D7 used to receive around three off-system safety project requests per year. Since the safety summit has been held, FDOT D7 has received 50+ applications per year from their local agencies seeking HSIP funding for their safety projects. Local agencies are now more willing and able to address local road safety issues using Federal safety funds.


Ping (Peter) Hsu, P.E.
FDOT, D7 Assistant District Traffic Operations Engineer (Safety)
(813) 975-6251

Publication Year: 2013

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