The Benefits of Road Safety Assessments (RSAs)
You may have heard the term Road Safety Assessment, or Road Safety Audit, or RSA and wondered what it meant. Perhaps you know what an RSA is but aren’t sure why you should consider them for your community. Road Safety Assessments are formal safety evaluations of a location, performed by a multidisciplinary team. RSAs differ from traditional safety reviews in that they consider all potential road users, include team members with varied expertise, account for human factor issues and result in a formal written report. They can be performed at all stages of a new project and can also be done on existing roadways as a means to identify safety issues and identify opportunities to mitigate those issues.
The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) has identified RSAs as a Proven Safety Countermeasure that can result in a 10%-60% reduction in total crashes. Many communities are successfully using these assessments as an opportunity to address safety concerns on existing roadways or at intersections. An RSA is also a useful tool in the planning process of a safety improvement project to ensure that all road user needs will be met. An assessment can even focus on a particular type of user such as pedestrians or bicyclists, especially if the location being evaluated experiences high volumes of those users.
Conducting a successful RSA starts with putting together a diverse team. Members should consist of representatives from Public Works, Planning, Emergency Services, Engineering and the Chief Elected Official’s office. Representatives from a neighborhood action group or association can participate to provide the resident perspective. Additionally, the Safety Circuit Rider program assists municipalities with road safety assessments on local roads.
Several municipalities in Connecticut have performed RSAs, with the assistance of the Safety Circuit Rider, to identify safety improvements to busy summer destinations, downtowns, school areas and more. These communities have used the resulting reports to further traffic calming and complete streets initiatives as well as to pursue grant funding for safety improvement projects.
If you would like additional information on conducting a road safety assessment or for general assistance with local road safety in your community, contact Melissa Evans, Safety Circuit Rider, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Federal Highway Administration, Office of Safety: