By: Danielle Betkey and Karen Scurry, FHWA Office of Safety

The highway safety environment is ever changing, and highway safety needs can greatly vary among States. As States work to reduce highway fatalities and serious injuries through implementation of the Highway Safety Improvement Program (HSIP), it is important they are innovative and take advantage of the latest information and noteworthy practices to help advance their programs.

The HSIP is a core Federal-aid program that helps to reduce traffic fatalities and serious injuries on all public roads through the implementation of infrastructure-related highway safety improvements.

Every State has its own unique way of administering its HSIP. As such, the need for training and resources may also vary. For the HSIP, it is often more helpful for States to learn from each other. In an effort to “re-energize the HSIP,” the Office of Safety is providing training and technical assistance to help States improve and advance their programs. We kicked off 2020 with a new webinar series that focused on HSIP-related topics, such as HSIP implementation plans, streamlining HSIP project delivery, marketing and communicating the Strategic Highway Safety Plan (SHSP), and evaluating and updating the SHSP. The webinar series will continue in 2021 and will focus on advancing the Safe System approach in the HSIP. Be sure to stay tuned for more details!

In addition to the webinar series, we have revamped our HSIP web page to include training resources that specifically support HSIP-related implementation efforts. These efforts also include the SHSP, Rail-Highway Crossing Program, and Safety Performance Management. We have compiled a list of current trainings, videos, and recorded webinars so that everything is available all in one place.

For States that need a more personalized solution, we offer free, customized technical assistance to meet State-specific needs. Technical assistance can be on-site (when available) or virtual through the following methods:

  • Assistance from an experienced peer or technical expert.
  • Training workshop led by an experienced peer or technical expert.
  • Facilitated peer exchange.

Peer Exchange Helps Texas Overcome Staff Development Hurdles

When the Texas Department of Transportation faced significant staffing changes, it looked to FHWA‘s peer exchange program to help update HSIP policies and educate new employees on current best practices. FHWA coordinated an information-sharing session with Texas, North Carolina, and Ohio. Following the peer exchange, Texas implemented a systemic safety program modeled by proven management systems that had been used by peer departments. The new system has helped prioritize projects and evenly distribute funding to match district needs.

“In a peer exchange, States dig in on similar issues they have and work with people they trust, which provides true value. The peer exchange helped us kick off a lot of change here in Texas.” -Stephen Ratke, safety and traffic operations specialist, FHWA Texas Division.

Examples of the technical assistance that the Office of Safety has provided include:

  • HSIP evaluation tracking database for Rhode Island.
  • Peer exchange for Texas to learn how other States incorporate systemic safety projects into their HSIPs.
  • Travel for Kansas to meet with three peer States to learn more about their SHSPs.
  • HSIP implementation plan workshops for several States that did not meet (or make significant progress toward) their safety performance targets.
  • SHSP evaluation process model workshops for several States that had been preparing to update their SHSPs.
  • Peer exchanges to cover topics such as contribution of SHSP and HSIP in driving down fatalities, local road safety policy, HSIP project tracking, streamlining HSIP project delivery, and safety performance management.

The Office of Safety has resources to support your technical assistance requests, so challenge us and let us help you advance your State’s safety program today! Agencies can request technical assistance through the Roadway Safety Professional Capacity Building Program by submitting an online application and selecting one of the following safety topics: HSIPSHSP, RHCP or safety performance measures.

For more information, contact Danielle Betkey at