The South Jersey Transportation Planning Organization (SJTPO) is working collaboratively with state and local agencies to address identified safety concerns within the SJTPO region, with funding through the Highway Safety Improvement Program (HSIP). The purpose of the HSIP is to achieve a significant reduction in fatalities and serious injuries on all public roads through a data-driven, strategic approach to improving highway safety. This includes roadways on and off the federal aid system, regardless of ownership.
Applying for funding through SJTPO’s Local Safety Program requires applicants to follow an intuitive five-step, data driven process. The Project Application and this document (Program Guidance) direct applicants through that process.
Within the current transportation reauthorization bill, Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act greater emphasis has been placed on performance measurement and project evaluation; the HSIP is on the leading edge in addressing this demand. To ensure the spirit of federal guidance is satisfied and that projects chosen are truly worthy investments, data drives the SJTPO Local Safety Program project development process in every step.
Local Safety Program funding may be used for all phases of a project, including design, right-of-way acquisition, construction, and construction inspection. Assistance with final design of safety projects is being offered by SJTPO.
Changes in the Application Process
Beginning with the 2021 solicitation, SJTPO is utilizing a newly developed statewide application and application process. The application package, includes a Phase 1 application, which must be completed for SJTPO by September 12, 2022, a Phase 2 application, which must be completed by June 2, 2022, and guidance and supporting materials to assist in completing the application.
- June 24, 2022 – Request to SJTPO for Crash Data, Analysis, and Diagrams
- September 12, 2022 – Phase 1 Application Due to SJTPO
- December 16, 2022 – Phase 1 Updated Application Due to NJDOT
- March 6, 2023 – NJDOT Feedback on Phase 1 Application Due to SJTPO/Applicant
- May 26, 2023 – Response/Updates to Phase 1 Application and Phase 2 Application Due to SJTPO
- June 2, 2023 – SJTPO Submits Response/Update to Phase 1 Application and Phase 2 Application to Technical Review Committee (TRC)
- September 5, 2023 – Review, Scoring, and Notes from TRC Due
- October 6, 2023 – Applicant/SJTPO Response to TRC Comments Due
- November 2023 – TRC Meets and Makes Final Recommendations
- January 8, 2024 – SJTPO TAC Consideration/Endorsement of Final Recommendations
- January 22, 2024 – SJTPO Policy Board Consideration/Approval of Final Recommendations
In an effort to remove a common barrier to submitting safety projects for consideration, SJTPO is offering design assistance, which can include Preliminary Engineering (PE) and Final Design (FD). SJTPO will serve as Project Managers for consultant-led design services after projects are selected and approved for Local Safety Program funding. Applicants can request assistance by checking a box as part of their Local Safety Program application.
Project locations must generally be selected in one of two ways: using the “hot spot” approach, by selecting a location from one of five network screening, or “hot spot” lists, or using the systemic approach, based on the geometric traits of a series of locations. SJTPO will work to incorporate safety improvements based on both the hot spot and systemic approaches.
Hot Spot Approach (Network Screening Lists): To apply for a project at a hot spot location, applicants must generally select locations from one of the Network Screening Lists developed for each county, below. Five different sets of network screening lists were developed for the SJTPO region on behalf of the New Jersey Department of Transportation (NJDOT). The five sets of lists represent 1.) all crashes along roadway corridors, 2.) all crashes on high risk rural roadways, 3.) all crashes at intersections, 4.) bicycle and pedestrian crashes along corridors, and 5.) bicycle and pedestrian crashes at intersections.
If a roadway owner believes that a location should qualify to be on one of these lists, either due to possible errors in the crash data or based on more recent crash history, they can reach out to SJTPO, who can assist with data analysis. It is important to note that the presence of a location on one of these lists does not necessarily mean a project will qualify for HSIP funding. Given the need to satisfy Highway Safety Manual and Benefit-Costs analyses, there must be a sufficient crash trend to justify the expenditure of limited safety dollars. Jurisdictions looking at locations with very few crashes, should consider addressing the safety issues during regular repaving or through other funding programs. HSIP funds should generally be considered for locations with the the most significant safety issues. For questions about a potential project location, please contact Alan Huff at email@example.com prior to developing application materials.
Roadway Corridor Lists (maps coming soon)
High Risk Rural Roads (HRRR) Lists
Systemic Approach: An alternative and complementary approach to the traditional site analysis is the systemic approach to safety, which takes a broader view and looks at risk across an entire roadway system rather than managing risk at certain locations. This approach provides a more comprehensive method for safety planning and implementation. Local safety projects are designed to improve safety by minimizing or eliminating risk to roadway users.
Centerline Rumble Strips: Installation of a centerline rumble strips are one of the proven countermeasures that reduce the risks of cross centerline crashes and is a good example of a systemic approach to safety. To help promote the installation of this safety improvement in the SJTPO region a candidate list of centerline rumble strip locations was compiled with the assistance of the New Jersey Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Data and Safety. Minimum lane width, shoulder width, and posted speed limit were used as variables in the screening lists for centerline rumble strips.
Lists of Roadways Eligible for Centerline Rumble Strips
Safety Treatments at Horizontal Curves: Horizontal curves often present risks to roadway users and offer opportunities to make systemic safety improvements to the roadway network. SJTPO, in partnership with DVRPC, recently conducted a Regional Curve Inventory and Safety Assessment that looked at curves in the SJTPO and DVRPC regions to identify crash patterns in order to assess risk as well as opportunities for systemic safety improvements. These improvements can include a wide range of improvements ranging from enhanced signage and striping to High Friction Surface Treatment (HFST) as well as a variety of other countermeasures. Safety improvements and locations identified from that effort are highly encouraged.
More information related to the systemic approach can be found on FHWA’s Safety website. This method looks at geometric characteristics of a series of roadways in a larger area that are statistically tied to crashes. A balanced safety program includes projects at both hot spot locations as well as a systemic application of a treatment.
This step provides an understanding of the crash patterns and examines the geometric and physical characteristics of the location, providing a diagnosis of the location. Whereas, the network screening provides a broad look at the number of crashes, the crash analysis in this step should investigate the types of crashes and circumstances around the crash history to identify patterns. These patterns will provide additional details related to the cause of the crashes and help diagnose the safety concern, leading to an improvement that will directly link to the problem at the location. It is not enough to select a location from the Network Screening lists; having a good location does not directly translate into a good project. However, proper diagnosis of the problem can help to identify a good project.
Applicants must include a full three-year crash history of the location in Excel format. Applicants are highly encouraged to contact SJTPO prior to collecting crash history.
Road Safety Audits (RSAs): Road safety audits are not required for Local Safety Program submission, but are an important tool in advancing quality safety projects and can be a valuable component in SJTPO’s data-driven approach. Once a project location has been identified from the Network Screening lists (Step 1), the site analysis in an RSA can be utilized in problem identification (Step 2) and countermeasure selection (Step 3). As a result, locations from the network screening where an RSA has occurred are likely excellent locations to pursue for local safety funding.
Road Safety Audit Reports, by County
Cape May County
The selection of an appropriate countermeasure is a key step in the process which addresses the problems identified at the location. For locations selected based on Network Screening locations, countermeasure(s) must address the type(s) of crash(es) at the particular location on the Network Screening list. For a systemic approach, countermeasures must address the geometric trait(s) related to a specific crash type. FHWA has studied and identified twenty safety countermeasures that are statistically proven to address specific crash types. These should be considered in all HSIP projects.
FHWA Proven Safety Countermeasures:
It is not enough to simply have a location with a crash history and apply the correct countermeasures; projects must also provide a benefit that exceeds their cost of construction. To this end, all projects must include an estimate of cost as well as additional information (Appendix A) that SJTPO will utilize to perform a Highway Safety Manual (HSM) analysis. This analysis will be utilized to determine the safety benefits of the entire project. This step in the process is not applicable for systemic applications and is optional for bicycle and pedestrian projects.
The final step in SJTPO’s data-driven Local Safety Program project selection process is review by a Technical Review Committee (TRC), comprised of SJTPO staff and NJDOT staff including Local Aid, Bureau of Environmental Resources, and Bureau of Data and Safety. Members of the TRC evaluate the projects to determine if the proposed improvements address the identified problems and would be a good use of local safety dollars. In addition, the TRC would assess whether the project is “shovel ready” and can be constructed within the short Local Safety Program timeline and determine if there are any “fatal flaws” that may require delaying the project until a later year, such as right-of-way acquisition or unaddressed environmental concerns.