U.S. Department of Transportation
Federal Highway Administration
1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
Washington, DC 20590

Roadway Safety Professional Capacity Building Program

Systemic Safety Implementation Peer Exchange (Summary)

September 17-18, 2014
Salt Lake City, Utah

About the Peer Exchange

FHWA's RSPCB Technical Assistance Program supports and sponsors peer exchanges and workshops hosted by agencies.

September 17-18, 2014


Key Participants
Representatives from:

  • Arizona
  • Kansas
  • Nevada
  • North Dakota
  • Oklahoma
  • Washington
  • FHWA Office of Safety

FHWA's Office of Safety sponsors P2P events. Learn more.


Systemic safety involves the use of countermeasures that are widely implemented based on high-risk roadway features correlated with particular severe crash types. Data shows that a majority of fatal crashes occur on rural roads. However, these crashes are not evenly distributed across the many miles of rural roadways, making it difficult to isolate high-crash locations for safety improvements. Systemic safety is a proactive approach that helps agencies broaden their safety efforts and consider risk as well as crash history when identifying where to implement low-cost safety improvements.

To assist agencies with advancing the implementation of the systemic approach to safety, especially at the local level, the FHWA Office of Safety hosted a Systemic Safety Implementation Peer Exchange on September 17 and 18 in Salt Lake City. The peer exchange provided a forum for participants to discuss and exchange ideas on the application of systemic safety analysis, how their agencies are implementing a systemic safety program, and the systemic countermeasures being used.

Thirty six attendees participated in the peer exchange with Federal, State, and local representatives from Arizona, Kansas, Nevada, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Utah, and Washington in attendance. The peer exchange was formatted to provide a mix of presentations, facilitated roundtable discussions, and breakout sessions. This structure provided attendees with several opportunities to collect information from their peers to advance the implementation of systemic safety. Each State was encouraged to share their noteworthy practices and strategies as well as challenges and barriers experienced with the systemic approach.

Each State delegation spent time developing Action Plans at the end of the peer exchange. A virtual peer exchange will be coordinated within the next year to follow up with attendees on their progress.

Key Takeaways

Attendees identified the following key takeaways from the peer exchange.

  • A funding exchange program can be used by States to get safety funds to local agencies to avoid the rigorous requirements associated with federal funds. States need to work with their Division Offices to determine if this is feasible.
  • States can provide summary data for each local agency and highlight where the funds would be best used based on that data. This can help locals identify and prioritize systemic safety projects.
  • Developing Local Road Safety Plans with identified projects can be beneficial as there will be a list of projects ready to go when funding is available.
  • Effectively advancing systemic safety requires involving the locals, giving them guidance, training, and identifying funding.
  • Following up with peers is essential to learn more about successful programs/practices.
  • Locals want the ability to implement projects rather than going through the required bidding/application process.
  • It is necessary to get elected officials on board with systemic safety.

The following suggestions were offered by attendees for resources/tools FHWA can provide to assist agencies with implementing systemic safety.

  • FHWA-sponsored webinars on systemic safety.
  • FHWA can support attendees with selling systemic safety to their leadership.
  • FHWA videos on effective countermeasures that locals can implement. There are some videos of this nature already available (i.e., roundabouts and cable median barrier).
  • Continue peer exchanges.