What is the role of the metropolitan planning organization in transportation safety?
Transportation planning takes safety considerations into account by identifying high-crash locations and giving them high priority for improvements. Many state and local transportation agencies have developed safety management systems that monitor crash locations. The MPO can participate in data collection for these systems or coordinate the development of a regional safety management system. In addition, MPOs play a key role in integrating safety into the metropolitan transportation planning process by coordinating with transit, state highway and motor carrier safety agencies.
What are the requirements for incorporating safety into transportation planning?
Federal transportation legislation such as the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century (known as TEA-21) and the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: a Legacy for Users (known as SAFETEA-LU) include safety as one of the main planning factors to be considered in transportation planning. Specifically, the planning process should consider projects and strategies that will "increase the safety and security of the transportation system for motorized and non-motorized users."
This means that both short and long-range plans include safety as a key area of focus. Safety is also a factor when rating projects and strategies for possible inclusion in short range plans and programs. In addition, it encourages regional, state, and local agencies to work together to save lives by improving engineering, education, enforcement, and emergency response services.
Safety Planning in the Baltimore Region
The Baltimore Regional Transportation Board continuously explores ways to incorporate safety into the regional transportation planning process through Safety Conscious Planning. SCP is a proactive approach to preventing unsafe transportation conditions and includes areas such as:
- Improving area management and operations strategies (i.e. emergency response management, traveler information services, etc.)
- Identifying additional data needs and collection methods
- Increasing coordination with state and federal planning efforts
The BRTB works with state and local agencies in the development of long and short range plans. Each plan goes through a process of technical analysis and review.
The following diagram details how safety planning can be integrated into the planning process in state and local planning initiatives.
Figure 1 – The Essential Eight (source NHI/NTI Transportation Safety Planning)
Safety and Transportation Outlook 2035
In the current long-range transportation plan, Transportation Outlook 2035, safety was considered through the prioritization process. Working in coordination with the State Highway Administration, the BRTB obtains crash data including total number of crashes, fatalities, and injuries for each of the jurisdictions.