Road Safety Assessments (RSAs) are a proactive approach to improving road safety. They involve a formal examination, from a road safety viewpoint, of a particular intersection or an arterial or freeway corridor.
The concept of RSAs originated in the UK in the 1990s and has been adopted by many countries with much success. Many US states have begun incorporating RSAs along with their existing efforts to improve road safety.
The RSA program at the Arizona DOT was established in 2006 as part of the state’s overall strategy for improving road safety. The 2005 MAG Strategic Transportation Safety Plan (STSP) identified RSAs as a strategy for improving road safety in the Phoenix metropolitan region. The MAG RSA program was developed with technical assistance from Arizona DOT.
The first cycle of MAG sponsored RSAs was performed in October 2011. The initial round of RSAs by MAG focused mainly on intersections, as nearly 50 percent of all serious injury and fatal crashes in the region occur at intersections. In 2014, the MAG Transportation Safety Committee recommended the development of Project Assessments (PAs) as a next step to further analyze safety improvements recommended in an RSA. In addition, to implement a strategy identified in the 2015 STSP, Transit RSAs were included in the MAG RSA program to focus on bicyclist and pedestrian safety on routes to transit stops and light rail stations. As of December 2015, RSAs have been performed at 45 intersections located in 11 local jurisdictions, including four light rail access locations. Each RSA produces a list recommended safety improvements. Five PAs have been developed to provide 15 percent design plans for road safety improvements recommended in previous RSAs, including preliminary cost estimates, and benefit cost analysis. The PAs can be used by local agencies to request federal aid Highway Safety Improvement Program (HSIP) funding to implement road safety improvements. The sites for performing RSAs are recommended by the Transportation Safety Committee. Through 2015, this was based on agency nominations followed by a review of crash history. Starting in 2017, all RSA sites will be identified and prioritized through an extensive data driven process.
A list of locations and completion dates are provided below.
An RSA is carried out by an independent multidisciplinary RSA Team and is led by a person trained in performing RSAs. The team typically consists of a police officer, traffic engineer, road safety planner and an expert in human factors.
The RSA team, led by the consultant, considers the safety of all road users, qualitatively estimates and reports on potential road safety issues and identifies opportunities for safety improvement. The RSA team examines the sites during the morning rush hour, mid-day and after sunset, by both driving and walking at the site. The MAG RSA program utilizes approximately $300,000 annually set aside in the Unified Planning Work Program (UPWP). These planning funds go towards services of on-call consultants qualified specifically to perform RSAs.
ITS Safety Engineer III