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Road Safety Audits

SEMCOG is working to reduce roadway crashes by conducting road safety audits in member communities to improve the safety and performance of community corridors via low-cost improvements.

The toll from highway crashes remains an important health and economic issue in the United States. Each year nearly 43,000 individuals are killed and 3 million are injured. The estimated societal cost of these highway crashes is more than $230 billion annually. Road Safety Audits (RSAs) are an effective tool for improving the safety performance via low-cost improvements.

What is a road safety audit?
A Road Safety Audit (RSA) is a formal safety performance examination of an existing or planned road or intersection by an independent audit team. Road safety audits can be used in any phase of project development from planning and preliminary engineering, to design, to construction. They can also be used to retrofit existing locations.

The goal of an RSA is to answer the following questions:

  • What elements of the road may present a safety concern: to what extent, to which road users, and under what circumstances?
  • What opportunities exist to eliminate or mitigate identified safety concerns?

RSAs are:

  • Focused on road safety.
  • A formal examination.
  • Conducted by an independent, qualified, and multidisciplinary team (more than one auditor).
  • Broad enough to consider the safety of all road users and road facilities.

What are the benefits of a road safety audit program?

  • May reduce the number and severity of crashes through engineering and enforcement recommendations.
  • May reduce costs by identifying safety issues and correcting them before road projects are built or modified.
  • Promote awareness of safe design practices.
  • Integrate multimodal safety concerns.
  • Consider human factors in all facets of road design and maintenance.

Conducting a road safety audit - Eight Steps of an RSA

  • Identify project or existing road for RSA.
  • Select multi-disciplinary RSA team.
  • Conduct start-up meeting to exchange information.
  • Perform field reviews under various conditions.
  • Conduct RSA analysis and prepare report of findings.
  • Present RSA findings to project owner/design team.
  • Project owner/design team prepares formal responses.
  • Implement findings as appropriate.

Implementing the results of a road safety audit
For road projects, the recommendations of a RSA should be implemented as appropriate during planning, design, or construction phases. For existing road projects, recommendations can be implemented during planned rehabilitation or maintenance projects (e.g., when the road is resurfaced or widened). Proactive strategies, such as changing signal timing, can be implemented independently as funding permits.

How SEMCOG can help
SEMCOG can provide resources and technical assistance to member communities to use road safety audit techniques:

Contact us to request a road safety audit.

Where can I get more information on road safety audits?
U.S Department of Transportation-Federal Highway Administration (FHWA)
Road Safety Audits Overview
Road Safety Audit Guidelines

U.S Department of Transportation-Federal Highway Administration (FHWA). What is a Road Safety Audit?