What Gets Counted, Counts: FHWA Announces New Safety Performance Measures, Including Bicycle-Pedestrian Safety

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) today published new safety performance measures as part of its national safety program, calling for state and regional targets to help reduce highway deaths and injuries, including for the first time, those among people walking and bicycling. The new regulations call for improved data on roadway features and a consistent definition of serious injuries.

“The Department has been working hard with communities around the country to reduce the growing number of pedestrian and bicyclist injuries and fatalities,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. “Having a uniform national performance measure will help us all work together to save lives.”

The addition of bicycle-pedestrian performance measures is an acknowledgement that non-motorized safety is of particular concern and improving conditions and safety for bicycling and walking will help create an integrated, intermodal transportation system that provides travelers with real choices.

The safety performance measures come as part of new rules to implement the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21) performance management requirements for safety and update the Highway Safety Improvement Program (HSIP). Major provisions involve requirements for all states to evaluate and report more effectively on surface transportation safety across the country.

“Together, the rules will enhance a data-driven approach to making safety decisions, improve collaboration across a wide range of safety partners, and provide transparency for the American public,” said Federal Highway Administrator Gregory Nadeau. “Most importantly, the rules will help save lives as states set and report on safety targets.”

The regulations will require reporting on the number and rate of all traffic fatalities and serious injuries, as well as a combined non-motorized pedestrian and bicycle injury and fatality measure. States and regional targets and progress on all five measures will be available through a public reporting system and will be aggregated at the national level. State departments of transportation and metropolitan planning organizations will be required to use the information in their investment programming and will be accountable to achieving annual their targets. The final rule also simplifies the method of determining target achievement.

These rules implement not only the MAP-21 requirements, but also modifications called for by the more recent Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act. With the recent increase in roadway deaths, the new approach to FHWA safety programs is timely. It also marks an important change in the management of the Federal-Aid highway program to become performance-driven.

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