On February 27, the Illinois Section of ITE hosted the webinar “Finding the Right Tool for the Job: A Safety Data and Analysis Toolbox.” The event was held at Christopher B. Burke Engineering in Rosemont and was well-attended by 23 professionals, including representation from both the public and private sectors. The webinar introduced viewers to the FHWA’s Roadside Safety Data Program (RSDP) Toolbox. The Toolbox contains resources that can help agencies build a new or strengthen an existing roadway safety data program.
The webinar was presented by Yanira Rivera, Civil Engineer at the FHWA, and Frank Gross, Safety Engineer at VHB Engineering. After giving attendees background information on the mission and goals of the Roadway Safety Data Program, Ms. Rivera explained the importance of data-driven decision making. The webinar provided a general overview of safety management data and terminology, such as crash severity levels, safety performance function, safety countermeasures, the crash modification factor, and the safety management process (network screening -> diagnosis -> countermeasure selection -> economic appraisal -> project prioritization -> safety effectiveness evaluation). References were made to the Highway Safety Manual, which is expected have a 3rd edition released in 2019 or 2020.
Attendees were then walked through the “Primer on Safety Data and Analysis Toolbox,” a support document that explains how to navigate and how to use the Toolbox. The three steps outlined in the Primer were to identify the agency’s role and responsibility, to select a task to be accomplished, and to then review the list of available tools. Several examples were demonstrated so that webinar viewers could understand the types of datasets available, how to access them, and how to apply these tools. Visit https://safety.fhwa.dot.gov/rsdp to explore the Toolbox and learn how to manage, analyze, collect, and research with the FHWA’s safety data.