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Roadway Safety Professional Capacity Building Program

Iowa's Comprehensive Highway Safety Plan: Review and Update - May 2011

An RSPCB Peer Exchange

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About the Peer Exchange

FHWA's RSPCB Peer-to-Peer Program (P2P) supports and sponsors peer exchanges and workshops hosted by agencies.

May 11 - 12, 2011

Des Moines, Iowa

Iowa Department of Transportation
Iowa Governor's Traffic Safety Bureau

Key Participants
Iowa Department of Public Safety

Iowa State Patrol

Iowa Motor Vehicle Enforcement

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Region 7

Illinois Department of Transportation

Missouri Department of Transportation

Utah Department of Transportation

FHWA Iowa Division Office
FHWA Office of Safety
FHWA Resource Center
U.S. DOT Volpe Center

FHWA's Office of Safety sponsors Peer to Peer (P2P) events.
Learn more

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Table of Contents

1. Introduction

2. Preparing for Iowa's Peer Exchange

3. Peer Review Summary

4. Key Findings and Lessons Learned

5. Feedback and Suggestions

Appendix A — Event Presenters, Planners, and Registrants

Appendix B — Agenda

1. Introduction

This report provides a summary of a two-part peer exchange sponsored by the Iowa Department of Transportation (Iowa DOT) and the Iowa Governor's Traffic Safety Bureau (GTSB). Part one of the peer exchange offered a web conference designed to solicit peer feedback on Iowa's current Comprehensive Highway Safety Plan (CHSP); part two was a peer exchange workshop focused on Iowa's CHSP update process.

Iowa DOT's safety engineer retired in 2010, leaving Iowa with a strong, nationally recognized program for safety. The new State safety engineer, who was tasked with updating the CHSP in 2011, presented the peer exchange as an opportunity to introduce himself and kick off the process. The event also served to educate new safety stakeholders and to re-engage members of the Iowa Traffic Safety Alliance (ITSA): a “partnership of public and private entities united...to save lives and prevent injuries on Iowa's roadways.”

Prior to the peer exchange, a planning team consisting of representatives from Iowa DOT, GTSB, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) Office of Safety, and the FHWA Iowa Division Office determined that it would be helpful to take an outside perspective to evaluate Iowa's safety program. The planning team engaged peers to review Iowa's existing CHSP and identify its strengths and weaknesses, as well as opportunities and strategies for improvement. The planning team presented findings from the review in a web conference held in April 2011. Peer feedback helped determine gaps in the plan as well as focus areas for the face-to-face peer exchange.

Approximately five weeks after the web conference, the planning team convened a face-to-face workshop with Iowa's CHSP stakeholders, building on information provided in the peer review. The purpose of the workshop was to share information from model peer states on creating a plan to engage leadership and provide guidance on programs and policies that will reduce serious injury crashes and fatalities on Iowa's roadways.

Iowa DOT's objectives in requesting the peer review and peer exchange were to:

  • Review the status of Iowa's CHSP and related efforts;
  • Re-engage Iowa's safety stakeholders and introduce the new Iowa DOT safety engineer;
  • Learn from new data analysis and peer-participant feedback;
  • Draft the process and inputs for developing Iowa’s next safety plan; and
  • Develop the approach for managing Iowa’s safety plan.

Workshop participants acknowledged the successes of Iowa's current CHSP and shared knowledge and noteworthy practices for creating an effective, updated plan. Selected peers for the peer review and the in-person workshop included the Illinois DOT (IDOT) and the Missouri DOT (MoDOT). A representative from the Utah DOT (UDOT) also participated in the initial peer review. Criteria for selecting peers included the following: States with a record of creating effective Strategic Highway Safety Plans (SHSP) by effectively using data, identifying performance targets, and engaging key stakeholders.

An action plan developed from the peer exchange identified champions for each action item and a timeline for deliverables. Iowa's safety stakeholders will continuously monitor the CHSP's performance and recommend changes as needed.

Back to Table of Contents

2. Preparing for Iowa's Peer Exchange

The success of any peer event is due, in part, to comprehensive planning efforts. Key staff from Iowa DOT and GTSB, along with the FHWA Office of Safety and the Iowa Division Office, spent over four months preparing for the event. The initial step involved the peers conducting a review of Iowa's current CHSP to determine the focus for the face-to-face event. This review and the steps listed below were important factors in realizing Iowa's goals for the peer exchange.

  • Engage State safety staff as champions – Key individuals from Iowa DOT and GTSB initiated the peer exchange and have remained involved as champions for implementation following the event. Engaging individuals who manage the CHSP process for the peer exchange helps establish momentum for the update process: having ongoing involvement of Iowa DOT and GTSB safety staff before and after the event is vital to ensure the implementation of proposed actions.
  • Select and invite peers – Event organizers identified and invited peer agencies (IDOT, MoDOT, and UDOT) that have demonstrated success in creating model SHSPs. Selecting peers to effectively address the host agency's program needs was critical to successfully meeting Iowa's goals for the peer exchange; peers then tailored their presentations to address Iowa's needs based on the results of the peer review.
  • Recruit participants – Iowa's CHSP core group consists of key safety stakeholders from State and Federal agencies. The planning team encouraged core group members and safety specialists from local agencies to attend the event to ensure all essential organizations were included in the discussion. The core group's participation provided an opportunity for Iowa's safety specialists to network and learn from each other.
  • Communicate with peers before the event to provide direction on desired feedback – Prior to the peer review, Iowa DOT safety staff developed a list of questions for peers to address in their presentations. Pre-event preparation (particularly for the peer review web conference) allowed peers and attendees to better understand Iowa's goals for the CHSP update.
  • Host the peer event – Using information from the peer review, FHWA Office of Safety staff and the Iowa planning team created a peer exchange agenda that addressed Iowa's needs. The event provided Iowa with an opportunity to learn about peer States' experiences and identify opportunities to improve Iowa's processes through an open exchange of ideas and knowledge. The team created discussion worksheets for the workshop that provided a simple way to capture feedback on developing next steps for Iowa's CHSP update.

Back to Table of Contents

3. Peer Review Summary

The peer review began with a webinar presentation from Iowa DOT and GTSB. The presentation provided background on Iowa's CHSP and detailed emphasis areas and strategies, partner organizations, and safety data trends. After the web meeting, peers received Iowa's 2006 CHSP and other relevant supporting documents including:

  • The Burden of Injury in Iowa – Iowa Department of Health (December 2008);
  • 2011 Commercial Vehicle Safety Plan – Iowa Motor Carrier Assistance Program;
  • 2011 Iowa's Blueprint for Safety – Governor's Traffic Safety Bureau, Iowa Department of Public Safety (September 2010); and
  • Iowa's Five Percent Reports.

Peers were asked to identify frameworks, relationships, organizational structures, and strategies in the existing CHSP needing improvement, including areas where the State has identified safety goals and/or objectives but has been unable to address them. A worksheet with detailed instructions was provided to peers for documenting feedback.

The overarching theme from the review was that Iowa's CHSP should be a forward-looking, strategic document with a clear goal and vision, strategies for implementation, and clearly defined short- and long-term targets to measure performance.

Peers' recommended opportunities for improvement included the following:

  • Vision – The CHSP should contain a set of guiding principles and a clear and concise statement about the purpose of the plan for readers to easily grasp the CHSP's importance to Iowa.
  • Goals – Iowa should establish a strong goal and vision for the CHSP. Even if Iowa reaches its 2015 goal for reducing fatalities, the State needs to think about how to continue motivating safety partners with a new goal.
  • Coordination with Other Plans – The CHSP should relate to partner agency plans (e.g., Commercial Vehicle Safety Plan, Highway Safety Plan).
  • Data – Iowa has good quality data and an opportunity to conduct meaningful analysis that can direct the State towards areas that provide the greatest opportunities to save lives and reduce injuries.
  • Management and Implementation – Iowa should designate roles and responsibilities for meeting emphasis area performance measures by identifying leaders in each area within the State. Iowa should maximize its use of multidisciplinary partners. This might involve forming a working group that can analyze data and draft a revised document to circulate among safety partners for review and revision. The CHSP should discuss strategies for implementation that are supported by existing data systems.
  • Safety Culture – The current plan briefly discusses safety culture. In the CHSP update, however, Iowa has an opportunity to expand upon this topic. For example, the State should create a stronger link between roadway safety and public health issues.
  • Performance Measures – Iowa has an opportunity to meet long-term goals by linking implementation efforts to performance measures. Data-based targets should be established for particular strategies and tied to annual performance targets.


The purpose of the workshop was to prepare for updating the CHSP and to introduce Iowa DOT's new safety engineer to key stakeholders. Iowa has a well-established reputation as an innovative pioneer in safety. The previous safety engineer had established strong collaborative relationships with the safety community and had taken a unique approach to program administration. The new engineer was tasked with updating the CHSP and used the peer exchange to kick off the process, reinforce relationships among Iowa's safety stakeholders, and explore a new approach to the program. The event also served to educate new safety stakeholders, review the status of ITSA, and discuss opportunities to re-engage its members.

Forty-two professionals representing the four “E's” (engineering, enforcement, education, and emergency services) attended the workshop, including representatives from Iowa DOT, GTSB, local governments, the Iowa Department of Public Safety (DPS), Iowa State Patrol, Iowa Motor Vehicle Enforcement, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) Region 7. The safety specialist from the FHWA Minnesota Division Office also participated. (See Appendix A for a complete list of participants).

The peer exchange began with a brief overview of Iowa's current CHSP, including its critical emphasis areas and strategies, followed by presentations by the peer agencies (see Appendix B for the agenda). Each peer agency described approaches and techniques used to successfully create and implement strategies for the SHSP. Breakout groups then discussed the strengths and weaknesses of Iowa's current plan and identified next steps for the update. Discussions on day two focused on ITSA. Breakout groups helped obtain different perspectives on Iowa's CHSP program.


Iowa DOT's CHSP manager welcomed attendees and introduced Iowa DOT's new State safety engineer, who indicated his interest in learning more about Iowa's CHSP and assessing its impact over the last five years. His goal for the event was acknowledging CHSP successes as well as identifying opportunities for improvement in the new plan. He stressed that ideas for lowering fatalities in Iowa would come from the Iowa DPS, the Department of Health, and other organizations, in addition to Iowa DOT.

The Chief of the Iowa GTSB discussed the importance of Iowa's partnerships, particularly between the Iowa DPS (where the GTSB resides) and Iowa DOT. In the past 10 to 15 years, an average of 445 fatalities have occurred per year, compared with 912 fatalities in 1970. Iowa has significantly improved highway safety in the last two years, with fewer than 400 fatalities reported per year. Iowa DOT staff have had success in installing rumble strips, signage, and cable barriers on Iowa's interstates; the State is now seeking to find additional solutions to meet its goal of zero fatalities.

Workshop Overview and Expected Outcomes

Iowa DOT provided an overview of Iowa's original CHSP, which was published in 2007. The CHSP included a five-year average for Iowa's fatality data. Using these data, Iowa identified the most promising opportunities to save lives, including speeding, roadway departure, cross-centerline crashes, high-risk age groups, and motor carriers. Through its CHSP, Iowa emphasized that half of its fatalities occurred on the local road system. Iowa's local roads are under counties' and cities' jurisdictions, and account for approximately 92 percent of the total roadway system. Since Iowa DOT is only responsible for the State-owned system, it is up to DOT to transfer noteworthy practices to the local system. Following working group discussions, Iowa established five policy-level strategies and eight program-level strategies for its CHSP, recognizing that certain safety improvements would require legislators' assistance. Iowa also developed a tagline for its CHSP—“One Death is One Too Many”— and hired a graphic artist to create a corresponding logo.

Iowa DOT then provided information about the State's successes implementing legislative strategies in its CHSP as well as some of the challenges faced. While many areas for improvement still exist, Iowa DOT believes it was important to appreciate the progress that has been made. Moving forward, creating a safety culture will be an important issue for Iowa to address.

The FHWA Office of Safety thanked Iowa for hosting FHWA and the peer States and indicated that Iowa has been proactive in investing time to improve its CHSP. The Office of Safety representative then provided a summary of feedback received from the peer review. Some highlights from this feedback include:

  • Iowa's CHSP strengths:
    • Strong leadership and management and a demonstrated commitment to providing funding and resources to improve safety;
    • Access to rich data to inform decision-making;
    • Representation from a variety of partners; and
    • Comprehensive overview of all roads presented, not just the State system.
  • Areas for improvement in the existing plan:
    • Need for one overall vision and goals statement;
    • Strengthened performance measures;
    • More thorough consideration of strategy implementation requirements; and
    • Stronger linkages to other State plans.
  • Opportunities for improvement:
    • Iowa's rich data can be used to improve the CHSP and highway safety in general;
    • Safety culture can be discussed in greater detail; and
    • Greater emphasis can be placed on implementation.

Overall, the peer review was important in assisting Iowa to identify how the CHSP process could address its safety needs.

Peer Presentations

Participating peer agencies tailored their discussions to respond to the peer review feedback. Presentations addressed gaps identified in the CHSP and provided Iowa stakeholders with ideas and new approaches to use in the CHSP update. The following section provides an overview of peers' presentations.

Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT)
MoDOT's Highway Safety Director detailed Missouri's safety program. With 33,000 miles of roadway, Missouri has the seventh-largest State highway system. Although Missouri also has 125,000 miles of locally managed roads, 75 percent of fatalities occur on the State system. MoDOT challenges include having the 43rd lowest gas tax in the country and no primary seatbelt law. The Director discussed several principles that Missouri has followed to create a successful plan, which include the following:

  • Develop a set of guiding principles to structure the plan. An important component of Missouri's plan was establishing guidance for decision-making at the beginning of the process. For example, Missouri focused its performance goals on fatal and serious injury crashes rather than on addressing all crashes and incident locations. Missouri also decided to identify strategies that would affect both the roadway and surrounding environment and focus on both statewide and regional deployment strategies. It was important for Missouri to create an SHSP that would serve as an umbrella for other highway safety initiatives.
  • Use a systematic approach to safety to ensure positive results. When the Director began working with MoDOT, the agency had been taking a conventional, engineering-focused approach to safety. She successfully advocated for a paradigm change based on the concept that fatalities are random. In 2005, with help from the Chief Engineer and MoDOT Director, Missouri began a systematic safety program, initially focusing on 5,500 miles of the State's most heavily traveled roads with strategic countermeasures, including rumble strips and stripes, larger signs, and delineations. MoDOT estimates that this campaign saves 100 lives per year. MoDOT has also been proactive in installing guard cable on 640 miles of State roads, saving an estimated 45 lives per year.
  • Use data to establish emphasis areas that will have the greatest impact on safety. To identify emphasis areas and strategies, Missouri analyzed crash data on a statewide level, but also asked each region to conduct an analysis of crash types to determine locally applicable strategies. Missouri developed ten focus areas that offered the greatest opportunities to save lives. These emphasis areas now guide Missouri's efforts to address the most pressing safety issues.
  • Communicate goals that the general public can easily understand. In establishing fatality reduction goals, it is important to have goals that are easy to convey to the public. For example, while it is reasonable to select a five-year average for a fatality goal, this may not be as easy for the public to understand as an annual fatality count.
  • Assemble a multi-agency work group and meet often during the development process; engage leadership at all stages of the process. To implement its SHSP, Missouri developed the Coalition for Roadway Safety, a partnership for safety advocates that includes an executive committee, ten subcommittees working at the State level, and ten regional coalitions working at the local level. The importance of focusing on implementation, in addition to strategies, was emphasized. As part of implementation, the State should consider how to fund its efforts. In Missouri, $1.9 million per year is available to implement strategies in the SHSP.
  • Create a sustainable plan not tied to individuals. The concept of sustainability in implementing an SHSP was highlighted. Missouri's Highway Safety Director focused on creating a plan that could endure beyond the contributions of specific people. To accomplish this goal, she suggested establishing an organizational structure for the SHSP that transcended people and focused on key positions.
  • Document and celebrate success. The Director recommended that Iowa share and celebrate its successes. Missouri creates an annual report that it submits to its executive committee to document what has been accomplished and where the state of highway safety stands. The report emphasizes the fact that the number of fatalities continues to fall, even as vehicle miles traveled (VMT) increase, and uses performance measures to provide details on the State's progress toward its goals from a specific baseline.

Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT)
IDOT's State Safety Engineer described Illinois's first SHSP, which set a goal of reducing fatalities from 1,450 to 1,000. Although Illinois was successful in exceeding this target, the State still aims to reach zero fatalities. Illinois' SHSP identified ten emphasis areas based on data. Each emphasis area has a multidisciplinary implementation team, which drafts an action plan with goals. Keys to Illinois' successful implementation of its plan include the following:

  • Treat the SHSP as a living document and be responsive to the State's changing needs. Data and strategies in Illinois's SHSP are updated periodically. IDOT maintains about 20 percent of the roadway miles in the State, accounting for about 80 percent of the VMT and 50 percent of the fatalities occurring in the State. Prior to developing the SHSP, IDOT invested only $745,000 per year on local roads but over $17 million in the State system. Now, IDOT invests $8 to 12 million per year on the local system through the High Risk Rural Roads program. Additionally, while Illinois' SHSP originally focused on all crash locations, it now focuses only on severe crashes.
  • Identify goals that work best for the State. Illinois has an overall zero fatalities goal, with annual reduction goals of 5 to 10 percent within each emphasis area. Illinois chose a fatality count rather than a rate to communicate the message that “every life counts.” Fatalities in 2009 were the lowest since 1921 but there is still opportunity for improvement.
  • Engage and empower multidisciplinary action teams to address emphasis areas. Illinois uses a multidisciplinary approach to solve safety problems. For example, the State found that many alcohol-related crashes occur at curves. To address this issue, Illinois DOT installed advanced warning signs systemwide. Illinois also emphasizes the importance of traffic safety culture, which combines the safety culture of 4E organizations and drivers. When the State conducts safety training, half of the participants are engineering staff and half are law enforcement. Roadway Safety Audit teams also include law enforcement, since they can offer a different perspective on the problem.
  • Communicate the value of safety programs and use innovative strategies for public outreach. IDOT emphasized the importance of communicating the value of safety efforts. The public generally believes that all roads are safe until a crash problem develops at a specific location. When the public complained about the noise of centerline rumble strips, IDOT created educational video clips on their benefits in making Illinois' roads safer, and posted them on YouTube. Videos can also involve other safety partners since roadway departure, for instance, involves engineering, impaired driving, and seatbelt usage.

Peer Discussion Session

After the presentations, attendees provided feedback and asked questions to better understand peers' programs as they relate to Iowa's safety planning goals. Themes from the discussion are summarized below:

  • Address public perception of safety. Safety culture often revolves around perceptions. Presentations from both MoDOT and IDOT focused on crashes, not accidents. The use of “safety belts” (as opposed to “seatbelts”) is encouraged. MoDOT's videos show simulations of what happens when a vehicle hits a cable barrier to correct many people's misperceptions of how these barriers work. In highway safety, mindset is very important.
  • Work with hospitals and rehabilitation centers to obtain crash-related data to understand the value of safety projects and programs. Peers provided feedback on how their States address the value of implementing certain countermeasures or programs. Missouri is a Crash Outcome Data Evaluation System (CODES) State, so crashes are linked to hospital records. In one case, a Level 3 trauma center that is responsible for responding to crashes on Interstate 70 commented on a decrease in cross-median crashes as a result of the installation of median cable barriers. MoDOT believes that there is room for more of this type of communication between hospitals and the State DOT, to help inform people of the benefits of safety countermeasures.

    Illinois is similar to Missouri. As a CODES state, Illinois is working to promote cost savings of the State's safety programs. There is a push to make highway fatalities a public health issue.

  • Identify the economic impact of saving lives. While some information is available detailing the cost of crashes and the high level of resources and funding needed for safety programs, there is limited public discussion on cost savings in terms of the value of a life or a disability. The public would respond to this type of information. Insurance industry and workplace safety advocates need to be involved, since motor vehicle crashes are the primary cause of fatalities in the workplace. IDOT emphasized that educating the legislature on safety is important. Politicians need to understand the impacts of laws that do not pass.

Breakout Group Discussions

Following the peer presentations, participants divided into breakout groups. The breakout groups were designed to allow diverse stakeholders to work together and build relationships in a collaborative setting. Participants represented their individual organizations as champions but also learned from other group members, allowing everyone to obtain insight from the process. Each breakout group discussed the strengths and weaknesses of Iowa's current CHSP as well as opportunities for improvement, elements to include in the new CHSP, and the necessary resources and champions for future success. Breakout groups also discussed opportunities for improving ITSA. Planning worksheets were supplied for groups to document their work and a facilitator moderated each of the sessions. Findings and recommendations from the breakout groups are summarized below by topic.

Strengths of Iowa's CHSP
The groups indicated that Iowa's CHSP is multidisciplinary, well-organized, readable, and data-driven. Other strengths included the fact that the CHSP is:

  • Based on high-quality data and includes historical data, pictures, and related stories to “sell” safety topics;
  • Endorsed by State executives and identifies legislative goals;
  • Supported by data with specific program goals outlined; and
  • Focused on addressing both the local system and all surface transportation and localizing national priorities.

The groups acknowledged that the plan effectively identifies future research needs.

Weaknesses of CHSP
The groups' feedback on Iowa's CHSP confirmed feedback received from the peer States' review that the plan lacked guiding principles and a vision. Other weaknesses identified included the following:

  • Intended audience is vague and actual audience is too limited;
  • Scope is too high-level and the title is vague and broad; the logo is not recognizable as promoting highway safety;
  • Plan does not include targeted performance measures or means of evaluation; it lacks accountability and an implementation framework;
  • Leadership team has limited diversity; team consists solely of government representatives and does not include outside entities to identify safety issues;
  • Executive summary is not comprehensive;
  • Five-year average figure used to identify emphasis areas is too vague;
  • Integration or alignment with other plans is not evident;
  • Plan shows a disconnect between the CHSP and the legislature;
  • Organization identity (ITSA) is lacking;
  • CODES data/economic impact are lacking; and
  • Iowa DOT's commitment to the plan is not evident.

Opportunities for Improvement
Based on the peer discussions and lessons learned from the peer presentations, the groups outlined a number of elements that should be included in the updated CHSP. Summarized below (by topic) are specific recommendations to improve Iowa's CHSP as well as resources needed to support this implementation:

  • Format and Content – The CHSP should be well-organized, clear, and easily accessible. Specific recommendations included:
    • Provide a statement outlining the purpose, intent, and intended audience;
    • Develop a new logo that conveys traffic safety;
    • Remove the word “comprehensive” from the title to promote consistency with other states' SHSPs;
    • Set more aggressive goals;
    • Present overarching national Fatality Analysis Reporting System data to illustrate the bigger picture and demonstrate how Iowa compares to other States;
    • Make the plan available in electronic format; and
    • Consider hiring an outside facilitator to revise the plan.

    Necessary resources to support these elements included tracking and evaluation tools, financial support, and data expertise.

  • Collaboration – The groups recommended that the CHSP be developed as a core part of Iowa DOT's business. Other recommendations included:
    • Expand stakeholder group to include all agencies;
    • Ensure that the CHSP reaches all safety stakeholders:
    • Include more local-level data and engagement with local agencies; and
    • Link to legislative activities related to safety.

    Important resources for collaboration included implementation teams representing both the private and public sectors and support from the Local Technical Assistance Program (LTAP).

  • Implementation – The CHSP needs to identify required actions and promote accountability to ensure implementation including the following:
    • High-priority strategies that are data-driven and categorized by proven strategies;
    • Clearly defined goals tied to policy strategies, including estimates for lives saved by accomplishing each goal;
    • Implementation plans and a timeline to track implementation to serve as a guide for action plans;
    • Performance measures and data for each emphasis area; and
    • Annual reporting requirements on progress and accomplishments and a process to update CHSP/action plans accordingly.
  • Champions – Groups identified a number of potential champions to ensure success of the updated CHSP. Potential champions included the:
    • Lieutenant Governor;
    • Iowa DOT's safety engineer;
    • Iowa DOT's public information officer; and
    • Federal, county, and municipal safety representatives.

    Other important groups that should be involved included working groups, schools, mentors, parents, LTAP, the Iowa State Patrol, GTSB, the Department of Public Health, emergency management services, driver services representatives, data management staff, and the media.

  • Communication and Outreach – To ensure that the plan is effectively communicated to all safety stakeholders and the general public, the State should develop a marketing plan. Recommendations for the plan include the following:
    • Provide a more comprehensive distribution of the CHSP; consider use of social media such as YouTube and Facebook;
    • Coordinate with the national Towards Zero Deaths initiative as well as local safety efforts;
    • Use documents as marketing tools to support safety efforts;
    • Demonstrate that crashes are an epidemic to the public;
    • Emphasize the cost-savings of implementing safety countermeasures and campaigns; and
    • Show the economic impacts of changes in fatalities and serious injuries.

    Recommended resources to improve communication and outreach include having a “face of safety,” marketing and media support, and use of web resources and focus groups (for marketing initiatives).

ITSA Group Discussion

At the end of the first day of the workshop, the group discussed ITSA's role. ITSA was organized as a diverse partnership of highway safety practitioners in engineering, enforcement, education, and emergency services with the charge of “supporting multidisciplinary efforts with action teams and standing committees focused on implementing specific CHSP strategy projects or providing key data and research support for important policy development.” Workshop participants recognized that the group had undergone numerous staffing and organization changes since 2007 and no longer served its intended purpose. During the discussion, the group realized that re-energizing ITSA was critical to engage stakeholders and move forward with the CHSP update. Significant opportunities currently exist for ITSA to help advance the CHSP; however, first Iowa needs to regroup and understand its membership, purpose, organization, and structure.

The workshop identified the following recommendations:

  • Redefine the membership, roles, and structure of ITSA;
  • Establish procedural guidelines for ITSA that provide stability beyond any individuals and clearly identify its purpose and mission;
  • Identify funding sources and opportunities for interaction with other groups; and
  • Host a high-level kickoff meeting to motivate safety stakeholders.

The CHSP core planning group convened on day two of the event to further discuss ITSA. The CHSP update provided an important opportunity to establish details for the new ITSA and allow the new safety engineer to be part of the process. The group first agreed that the purpose of ITSA is to:

  • Convene safety partners to coordinate safety activities;
  • Learn from the experience of others; and
  • Understand emerging trends and issues.

Next, the group discussed ITSA's organization and structure, process, and communication and outreach activities in a facilitated session. In the past, ITSA functioned as a multidisciplinary team coordinating CHSP activities. The group identified suggestions/opportunities to provide Iowa with a clear approach to move ITSA forward:

Organization and Structure
Identifying ITSA's individual teams and members was important to ensure the inclusion of all essential safety stakeholders from key organizations. Participants discussed the different committees needed to obtain buy-in and accomplish the tasks needed for the CHSP, including spearheading leadership (executive committee), decision-making and managing the process (steering committee), completing the work (emphasis area groups), and tracking progress (tracking and evaluation group). The table below shows the participants' recommended structure for ITSA, including the proposed membership and purpose for each group (note that the position/organization is listed, rather than individuals, to help ensure that groups continue to function despite employee turnover).

ITSA Group Proposed Membership Purpose
Executive Committee
  • Governor (and representative)
  • Iowa DOT Director*
  • DPS Commissioner*
  • Department of Public Health Director*
  • Department of Education Director (safety or communications)
  • Department on Aging
  • NHTSA Division Administrator
  • FMCSA Division Administrator
  • FHWA Division Administrator
  • Attorney General's Office
  • Insurance Industry
  • Economic development/Private sector associations
  • Local Law enforcement
  • Municipal/County government
* Proposed co-chairs
Generate awareness for highway safety; take credit for highway safety accomplishments to gain media attention towards highway safety issues and successes.
Steering Committee
  • Iowa DOT, State Safety Engineer*
  • Iowa GTSB, Bureau Chief*
  • Iowa State Patrol, Captain
  • Iowa DOT, Director - Office of Driver Services
  • Iowa DOT, Driver Services Records Manager
  • Iowa DOT, CHSP Program Manager
  • Iowa DOT, Director - Office of Traffic and Safety
  • Iowa DOT, Driver Safety Analyst - Driver Services
  • Iowa DOT, Planning, Programming and Modal Division Director
  • Iowa DOT, Planning - Safe Routes to School
  • Iowa DOT, Planning, Programming and Modal Division Director
  • Iowa GTSB, Program Evaluator
  • FMCSA Iowa Division Office, Division Administrator
  • FMCSA Iowa Division Office, State Programs Manager
  • Injury Prevention Research Center/University of Iowa staff
  • InTrans/Iowa State University, Research Engineer
  • FHWA Iowa Division Office, Safety Specialist
  • Iowa - Illinois Safety Council, Executive Director
  • American Automobile Association (AAA), Director of Public Affairs
* Proposed co-chairs
Develop mission statement, goals, and objectives for ITSA; meet quarterly to discuss ongoing ITSA activities and develop meeting minutes to deliver to leadership; determine new CHSP structure and content; develop CHSP action items; track performance through the Tracking and Evaluation group.
Emphasis Area Groups
  • Iowa DOT
  • Iowa Department of Public Health
  • Research Centers
  • Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration
  • Metropolitan planning organizations
  • Regional planning agencies
  • National Association of County Engineers
  • Consulting Engineers Council of Iowa
  • Iowa League of Cities
  • Iowa Association of Safety Education
  • Iowa Department of Education (School Superintendents)
  • Iowa-Illinois Safety Council
  • Alcohol Beverages Division
  • Iowa Motor Truck Association
  • Operation Lifesaver
  • College student councils
  • AARP
  • Minority groups
  • Private sector representation
  • Iowa Insurance Division
  • Iowa Department of Public Safety
  • State, county, and local enforcement
  • Iowa Center for Agricultural Safety/Health
  • Iowa Law Enforcement Academy
  • Adjudication representation
Develop strategies for addressing each emphasis area identified in Iowa's next CHSP.
Tracking and Evaluation
  • Intrans/Iowa State University
  • Iowa State Patrol
  • Injury Prevention Research Center/University of Iowa
  • Iowa DOT - Traffic and Safety
  • Insurance Companies
  • Iowa GTSB
  • AAA
  • Motor Vehicle Enforcement
  • Iowa Department of Public Health
Create a structure and objectives for reporting progress and performance; develop emphasis area performance targets; collect performance data from emphasis area groups; and measure against established targets.

The following list details the group's suggestions on institutionalizing ITSA operations:

  • Develop a process for tracking implementation of safety initiatives;
  • Understand the role of the State Traffic Records Coordinating Committee within ITSA;
  • Integrate the priorities of individual organizations into ITSA's overall mission and goals;
  • Describe the roles of different organizations in ITSA and how they fit together;
  • Develop common priorities including a unified legislative agenda;
  • Address long-term safety culture change;
  • Consider a tiered approach to establish leadership support for members' decision-making; and
  • Ensure that research organizations are engaged with the “real world” of safety by aligning future research with safety design and increasing access to data for those outside government.

Communication and Outreach
ITSA's visibility to member organizations and the general public is key to its success. The following approaches were discussed:

  • Create an identity for ITSA to ensure accountability and adherence to guidelines by:
    • Setting clear objectives and roles to distribute workload among safety partners;
    • Effectively marketing ITSA to energize individual organizations and set the foundation for doing business based on support from safety partners;
    • Developing a unified organization to support the larger mission/message of Towards Zero Deaths; and
    • Establishing a structure to leverage resources to communicate the message of saving lives.
  • Involve different levels of government/law enforcement (local, county);
  • Connect the safety message to public health; and
  • Sell safety in Iowa by:
    • Increasing public awareness for safety by explaining the “why” behind programs like rumble strips; and
    • Publicizing the number of roadway fatalities on a daily basis through news media.

Next Steps

The group created a plan that included action items. The intent of the plan was to ensure that all core group members understood their role in updating the CHSP. Staff were assigned to implement action items, as detailed in the table below.

Action Item Responsible Party
Develop operational guidelines and mission and goal statement Core Group
Develop a framework for Executive Committee Iowa DOT - State Safety Engineer
GTSB - Chief
Emergency Management Services - Director
Develop materials to present to Executive Committee Group
Develop lists of individuals and contact information for emphasis area groups Iowa-Illinois Safety Council - Executive Director
GTSB - Program Evaluator
Iowa DOT - CHSP Program Manager
Iowa FHWA Division Office - Safety Specialist
Inventory available resources for tracking performance Core Group
Hold first meeting Core Group

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4. Key Findings and Lessons Learned

Through the peer review and workshop, Iowa's CHSP core group accomplished its goals, which were to convene stakeholders and identify action items to re-engage ITSA members and initiate its CHSP update effort. In addition, participants learned how IDOT and MoDOT work with their safety partners to create effective SHSPs that leverage resources and ensure agency engagement and accountability. Noteworthy practices learned from the event included the following:

  • It is important to establish guiding principles and a vision for the CHSP. The peer review States' feedback indicated that a clear set of guiding principles is essential to the foundation of the plan. Furthermore, providing a concise statement about the purpose of the plan helps the reader easily understand the CHSP's importance to Iowa and communicates its importance to all safety stakeholders.
  • An organized multi-agency group with engaged leadership and clear goals and expectations will facilitate planning and implementation at all stages of the CHSP process. To implement its SHSP, Missouri developed a Coalition for Roadway Safety, which has been important for the plan's success. One of the key success factors for Missouri's Coalition is that it is a partnership and not tied to a single organization. Although Iowa has a similar group in place with ITSA, it is important for the CHSP core group to re-engage ITSA members to ensure success moving forward.
  • Accurate crash data are essential to identify critical emphasis areas and track progress. Peers from MoDOT and IDOT emphasized the importance of accurate crash data for using data analysis effectively to identify projects, justify safety investments, and track performance. Iowa already has good quality data but the CHSP could be enhanced with better use of data as well as performance measures tied to emphasis areas. This would be particularly helpful to communicate more effectively with legislators.
  • Effective safety marketing is important to keep partners and leadership engaged in the process. Peer States have done a good job communicating their success stories. Maintaining a high profile for safety helps sustain leadership engagement, which is important to fund programs and projects. Peer States also found it useful to utilize creative tools such as social media to communicate to a wider audience. Linking safety projects and programs to the economic cost of crashes has also been useful to educate the public on the value of their programs.

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5. Feedback and Suggestions

Feedback from attendees indicated that the peer exchange was successful in bringing Iowa's stakeholders together to network and reenergize the CHSP update process. Participants indicated that the key takeaways from peers included the strategic planning process for the CHSP, as well as marketing and using performance measures in the plan to track progress. Several comments focused on the value of the breakout sessions and the importance of creating diverse groups to promote collaboration among organizations. Iowa DOT's new State safety engineer indicated that the most valuable lesson learned from the workshop was the “power of a statewide alliance to ‘brand’ a safety message and to provide a venue for agencies, public and private, to identify with and contribute to the mission.” Iowa benefited from the opportunity to see how the peer States use branding to communicate the safety message to the public and promote the successful implementation of the safety program.

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Appendix A: Event Presenters, Planners, and Registrants

Peer Presenters
Leanna Depue
Highway Safety Director
Missouri Department of Transportation
Office Phone: (573) 751-7643
Email: leanna.depue@modot.mo.gov
Priscilla Tobias
State Safety Engineer
Illinois Department of Transportation
Office Phone: (217) 782-3568
Email: Priscilla.Tobias@illinois.gov
Tamiko Burnell
Transportation Specialist
FHWA Office of Safety
Office Phone: (202) 366-1200
Email: tamiko.burnell@dot.gov
Jerry Roche
Safety Specialist
FHWA Iowa Division Office
Office Phone: (515) 233-7323
Email: Jerry.Roche@dot.gov
Dave Engstrom
Safety Engineer
FHWA Resource Center
Office Phone: (708) 283-3545
Email: david.engstrom@dot.gov
Susan Smichenko
Community Planner
Volpe National Transportation Systems Center
Office Phone: (617) 494-3438
Email: Susan.Smichenko@dot.gov
David Perlman
Operations Research Analyst
Volpe National Transportation Systems Center
Office Phone: (617) 494-3178
Email: David.Perlman@dot.gov
Will Stein
Safety Specialist
FHWA Minnesota Division Office
Office Phone: (651) 291-6122
Email: Will.Stein@dot.gov
Iowa Event Planners
Steve Gent
Director Traffic and Safety
Iowa Department of Transportation
Office Phone: (515) 239-1129
Email: steve.gent@dot.iowa.gov
Joanne Tinker
Program Evaluator
Governor's Traffic Safety Bureau
Office Phone: (515)725-6134
Email: jtinker@dps.state.ia.us
Larry Sauer
Bureau Chief
Governor's Traffic Safety Bureau
Office Phone: (515) 725-6120
Email: sauer@dps.state.ia.us
Jeremey Vortherms
State Safety Engineer
Iowa Department of Transportation
Office Phone: (515) 239-1269
Email: Jeremey.vortherms@dot.iowa.gov
Mary Stahlhut
CHSP Program Manager
Iowa Department of Transportation
Office Phone: (515) 239-1169
Email: Mary.stahlhut@dot.iowa.gov
Chris Albrecht
Transportation Research Specialist
Institute for Transportation
Office Phone: (515) 294-7684
Email: calbrecht@iastate.edu
Craig Markley
Iowa Department of Transportation
Systems Planning Office Director
Office Phone: (515) 239-1027
Email: craig.markley@dot.iowa.gov
Stuart Anderson
Iowa Department of Transportation
Planning, Program and Modal
Office Phone: (515) 239-1661
Email: Stuart.Anderson@dot.iowa.gov
Kathy McClear
Iowa Department of Transportation
Driver Services Records Manager
Office Phone: (515) 237-3023
Email: Kathy.McClear@dot.iowa.gov
Kevin Blanshan
Iowa Northland Regional Council of Governments
Director of Transportation and Data
Office Phone: (319) 235-0311
Email: kblanshan@inrcog.gov
Shirley McGuire
Division Administrator
Office Phone: (515) 233-7405
Email: Shirley.mcguire@dot.gov
Allan F. Demorest
AARP Driver Safety Program
Iowa Chief Trainer
Office Phone: (515) 255-2127
Email: Ademorest@aol.com
Jim Meyerdirk
Law Enforcement Liaison
Office Phone: (515) 725-6125
Email: meyerdir@dps.state.ia.us
Scott Falb
Iowa Department of Transportation
Driver Safety Analyst - Driver Services
Office Phone: (515) 991-0136
Email: scott.falb@dot.iowa.gov
Larry Neppl
Iowa AARP Driver Safety Program
State Coordinator
Office Phone: (319) 743-0888
Email: ridgetill@gmail.com
Eileen Fisher
U of I - ICASH
Deputy Director for Iowa's Center for Agricultural Safety and Health
Office Phone: (319) 335-4224
Email: Eileen-fisher@uiowa.edu
Terry Ostendorf
Iowa DOT - Traffic and Safety
Iowa TSIP Program
Office Phone: (515) 239-1077
Email: Terry.Ostendorf@dot.iowa.gov
Arthur Fleener
State Programs Manager
Office Phone: (515) 233-7410
Email: Arthur.fleener@dot.gov
Michael Pawlovich
Iowa DOT - Traffic and Safety
Traffic Safety/Crash Data Engineer
Office Phone: (515) 239-1428
Email: Michael.Pawlovich@dot.iowa.gov
Larry Grant
Iowa State Patrol
Lieutenant, Planning and Technology
Office Phone: (515) 725-6096
Email: grant@dps.state.ia.us
Corinne Peek-Asa
Injury Prevention Research Center
Office Phone: (319) 335-4895
Email: Corinne-peek-asa@iowa.edu
John Haas
Iowa Department of Transportation
Director Statewide Emergency
Office Phone: (515) 239-1040
Email: john.haas@dot.iowa.gov
Howard Preston
Senior Transportation Engineer
Office Phone: (651) 365-8514
Email: hpreston@ch2m.com
Zachary Hans
Intrans, Iowa State University
Research Engineer
Office Phone: (515) 294-2329
Email: zhans@iastate.edu
Cathy Ridnour
Iowa Department of Transportation
Planning, Safe Routes to School
Office Phone: (515) 239-1713
Email: Kathy.Ridnour@dot.iowa.gov
Curtis Henderson
Iowa State Patrol
Office Phone: (515) 725-6099
Email: chenders@dps.state.ia.us
Doug Ripley
Traffic Control Corporation
Office Phone: (515) 418-4114
Email: dripley@traffficcontrolcorp.com
Kenneth Huelman
Iowa Association of Safety Education
Office Phone: (515) 725-6099
Email: rkhuelman@q.com
Lisa Roth
University of Iowa Injury Prevention
Research Coordinator
Office Phone: (319) 467-4504
Email: lisa-m-roth@uiowa.edu
Randy Hunefeld
STEP Program Coordinator
Office Phone: (515) 725-6124
Email: hunefeld@dps.state.ia.us
Mary Schaer
Office of Driver Services
Compliance Officer
Office Phone: (515) 237-3180
Email: mary.schaer@dot.iowa.gov
Laura Johnson
Iowa-Illinois Safety Council
Executive Director
Office Phone: (515) 276-4724 ext. 228
Email: laura@iisc.org
Dean Scott
Program Manager
Office Phone: (816) 329-3905
Email: dean.scott@dot.gov
Erica Kasischke
State Farm
Public Affairs Specialist
Office Phone: (515) 440-7075
Email: Erica.kasischke.p6gg@statefarm.com
Steven Shroder
Iowa DOT - Traffic and Safety
TEAP Program
Office Phone: (515) 239-1623
Email: steven.shroder@dot.iowa.gov
Toni Kerkove
Iowa Department of Transportation
Executive Officer 2 (Motorcycle RE Admin)
Office Phone: (641) 423-1675
Email: toni.kerkove@dot.iowa.gov
Tim Simodynes
Iowa DOT - Traffic and Safety
Transportation Engineer
Office Phone: (515) 239-1349
Email: Timothy.simodynes@dot.iowa.gov
Jeff Koudelka
Iowa Plains Signing, Inc./Iowa ATSSA
Vice President
Office Phone: (515) 210-3536
Email: Jeff@iowaplains.com
Kim Snook
Iowa Department of Transportation
Director, Office of Driver Services
Office Phone: (515) 237-3253
Email: kim.snook@dot.iowa.gov
Roger Larson
Iowa Department of Transportation
Transportation Planner
Office Phone: (515) 239-1772
Email: rlarson@dot.iowa.gov
Reg Souleyrette
Iowa State University
InTrans & Professor, Civil Engineering
Office Phone: (515) 294-5453
Email: reg@iastate.edu
Jack Latterell
FHWA (retired)
Office Phone: (515) 292-3714
Email: Jacklatt@aol.com
Robert Sperry
Institute for Transportation
Local Roads Safety Liaison
Office Phone: (515) 294-7311
Email: rsperry@iastate.edu
Kathy Leggett
Blank Children's Hospital
Advocacy and Outreach Center Director
Office Phone: (515) 241-5963
Email: Leggetkm@ihs.org
Gail Weinholzer
Director of Public Affairs
Office Phone: (952) 707-4985
Email: gail.weinholzer@mn-ia.aaa.com
David Lorenzen
Motor Vehicle Enforcement
Office Phone: (515) 237-3219
Email: david.lorenzen@dot.iowa.gov

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Appendix B: Agenda

Iowa Comprehensive Highway Safety Plan Update
Peer Exchange/Workshop Agenda

Courtyard Des Moines Ankeny - May 9-11, 2011
Tuesday, May 10, 2011 - Peer Exchange
8:00 A.M. Registration and Networking
8:30 A.M. Welcoming Remarks Overview and Expected Outcomes
  • Jeremey Vortherms - State Safety Engineer, Iowa Department of Transportation
  • Jerry Roche - Safety Engineer, FHWA Iowa Division Office
8:50 A.M. Stakeholder Introductions
  • Larry Sauer - Bureau Chief, Iowa DPS, Governor's Traffic Safety Bureau
9:00 A.M. Overview and Update of 2006 CHSP
  • Mary Stahlhut - Iowa DOT
9:20 A.M. Iowa CHSP Peer Review Phase 1 Summary
  • Tamiko Burnell - Professional Capacity Building Program Manager, FHWA Office of Safety
9:30 A.M. Break
10:00 A.M. Illinois SHSP Plan and Q&A
  • Priscilla Tobias, P.E. - State Safety Engineer, Illinois Dept. of Transportation
10:45 A.M. Missouri SHSP Plan and Q&A
  • Leanna Depue, PhD - Highway Safety Director, Missouri Dept. of Transportation
11:30 A.M. Working Lunch
12:30 P.M. Breakout Group Facilitated Brainstorming and Discussion — 2011-12 CHSP Framework
  • Current CHSP Strengths and Weaknesses
  • CHSP Opportunities for Improvements
  • Elements to include
1:45 P.M. Report Out
2:15 P.M. Break
2:30 P.M. Stakeholders Alliance Building (ITSA)
  • ITSA Structure
  • Implementing and Sustaining the CHSP Collaboration
  • Tools
3:45 P.M. Report Out
4:15 P.M. Wrap-Up
4:30 P.M. Adjourn
Wednesday, May 11, 2011 (CHSP Leaders)
8:00 A.M. Welcome and Logistics
8:10 A.M. Group Discussion
  • Organization and structure of Iowa's The Traffic Safety Alliance
  • Incorporation of safety culture in shared efforts
9:45 A.M. Break
10:00 A.M. Group Discussion (continued)
  • Organization and structure of Iowa's CHSP including guiding principles
  • Incorporation of safety culture in CHSP
  • Sustaining the CHSP and implementation
  • Performance measures and tracking
11:30 A.M. Future Expectations and Next Steps
12:30 P.M. Adjourn

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