Road Safety Assessments (RSAs) are an active approach to improving road safety. They involve examining an intersection, an arterial, or freeway corridor from a road safety viewpoint.
The concept of RSAs originated in the UK in the 1990s and has been adopted by many countries with much success. Many US states have begun incorporating RSAs along with their existing efforts to improve road safety.
The RSA program at the Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT) was established in 2006 as part of the state’s plan for improving road safety. The 2005 MAG Strategic Transportation Safety Plan (STSP) identified RSAs as a way to improve road safety in the Phoenix metropolitan region. The MAG RSA program was developed with technical assistance from ADOT.
The first cycle of MAG sponsored RSAs was done in October 2011. These focused mainly on intersections, as nearly 50 percent of all serious injury and fatal crashes in the region occur at intersections.
In 2014, MAG’s Transportation Safety Committee endorsed the development of Project Assessments (PA’s) to analyze safety improvements recommended in an RSA. To implement a strategy identified in the 2015 STSP, Transit RSAs were included in the MAG RSA program. They focused on bicyclist and pedestrian safety on routes to transit stops and light rail stations. As of December 2017, RSAs were performed at 54 intersections in the jurisdictions of 15 MAG member agencies, including five (5) light rail access locations. Each RSA creates a list of recommended safety improvements.
Seventeen (17) PAs have been developed to provide 15 percent design plans for road safety improvements recommended in previous RSAs. They included preliminary cost estimates and benefit cost analysis. The PAs can be used by local agencies to request federal aid Highway Safety Improvement Program (HSIP) funding to implement road safety improvements. The sites for performing RSAs are recommended by the Transportation Safety Committee. Through 2015, this was based on agency nominations followed by a review of crash history. Since 2017, all RSA sites are identified and prioritized through a data driven process.
A list of locations and completion dates are provided below.
An RSA is carried out by an independent multidisciplinary RSA Team and is led by a person trained in performing RSAs. The team typically consists of a police officer, traffic engineer, road safety planner and an expert in human factors.
The RSA team considers the safety of all road users. They estimate and report on possible road safety issues and identify opportunities for safety improvement. The team examines the sites during the morning rush hour, mid-day and after sunset, by both driving and walking at the site. The RSA program uses approximately $300,000 annually that is set aside in the Unified Planning Work Program (UPWP). These funds goes toward on-call consultants who are qualified to perform RSAs.
ITS Safety Engineer III
Senior Program Manager - ITS and Safety