The Transportation Safety Planning program at MAG was launched in July 2000. The primary goal of this program is to identify both current and future regional transportation safety issues, concerns and needs and determine ways to address them through the transportation planning process. The serious discussion of road safety issues at the regional level began at the first annual MAG Regional Transportation Safety Forum, held in March 2001. The Regional Transportation Safety Stakeholders Group was formed in November 2001 to address this topic in an organized manner. This diverse group, representing a broad cross section of public and private agencies and safety advocacy groups, helped the region take the first steps in true multidisciplinary safety planning. Topics such as Safe Access to Schools, Reducing Red Light Running, Introducing Road Safety Audits and Producing an Annual Report on Road Safety in the Region were identified as goals in a Safety Action Plan developed by the Group. The Group acknowledged that future improvements in road safety required the interaction among multiple disciplines and agencies involving the 4E’s: Engineering, Enforcement, Education and Emergency Medical Services. The foundation laid by this Group was instrumental in the formation of the MAG Transportation Safety Committee, a first for an MPO in the nation.
Safety Conscious Planning (SCP) is a planning philosophy that is being advanced at the national level by the USDOT. It implies a proactive approach to improving road safety in order to reduce the heavy toll of 42,000 annual road fatalities in the nation. Long range planning for a safer transportation system, though seemingly simplistic, is very new to agencies engaged in planning and implementing transportation systems. The MAG region has begun implementing this philosophy by considering safety explicitly in the Regional Transportation Plan.