Highway Safety Improvement Program (HSIP)

Work Zone Safety | HSIP Application/Procedure update | Traffic Engineering memoranda | MUTCD and Virginia Supplement

HSIP Overview

Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21) was passed into law July 2012 and extended to authorize the federal surface transportation programs for highways, highway safety, and transit.  MAP-21 continues the core HSIP, administered by Federal Highways Administration (FHWA), structured and funded to make significant progress in reducing highway fatalities and severe injuries on all public roads following United States Code Title 23, Sections 130, 148, and 154. The federal aid contributes 90 to 100 percent of certain safety improvements. HSIP is a data-driven, strategic approach program for infrastructure improvements for all highway travel modes. Emphasis is placed on strategies and actions with expected performance outcomes as documented in Virginia’s 2012-16 Strategic Highway Safety Plan (SHSP). With Virginia’s vision that everyone should Arrive Alive we should work towards zero highway deaths, infrastructure and operational “engineering” improvements must mission with education, enforcement and emergency response partners to reduce crashes and their consequences. 

States are required to set performance measures and targets for reductions in the number of fatalities and serious injuries and the reduction in the rate of fatalities and serious injuries per million vehicle miles traveled for the five years of the SHSP and annually with safety partners. Further, required performance measure development and reporting at multiple levels are to be determined when FHWA HSIP related regulation (Final Rules) are issued.

Information on all of MAP-21 FHWA programs is available at:


Information on the MAP-21 HSIP elements is available at:

VDOT’s HSIP involves the identification of intersections or highway segments with above average total and injury crashes for existing traffic, analysis of crash trends and existing conditions, and economic and/or risk evaluation of proposed safety project benefits. 

VDOT’s HSIP consists of the following programs: 

  • Highway Safety Program (HSP)
  • Bicycle and Pedestrian Safety Program (BPSP)
  • Highway-Rail Grade Crossing Safety Program (H-RGCP)

Note that Virginia is presently not required to set aside High Risk Rural Roads (HRRR) funding since the rural major collector and below classified roadway crash death rate has not increased for the last two years.

New HSIP project planning and development processes for each program have been developed in consultation with FHWA given the MAP-21 guidelines, final rulings (policy) and funding provided.  As such, adding safety projects to Virginia’s Six-Year Improvement Program (SYIP) and STIP will only be considered if Virginia’s Highway Safety Improvement Program Implementation Guidelines are followed.


Chapter 6 for Locally Administered Projects has been revised.

Local jurisdictions submitting HSIP proposals for FY 17 must meet new criteria and follow new process requirements.

A summary presentation on the chapter is provided here.

Look for HSIP webinars to be held during the summer of 2015!






HSIP Projects for Fiscal Year 2015-16

Presuming level funding for the next six years, safety projects have been programmed for multiple years based on the priority and delivery expectations of each VDOT District. District proportion programming targets are set by HSIP each year. New and active HSIP projects are listed in the annual SYIP at: http://syip.virginiadot.org/

You may generate and download a listing for your area of interest, for example district or jurisdiction, by first filtering on Fund = .Highway Safety Improvement; .High Risk Rural; and .Rail Highway Crossing (note the first character is a dot [.] before each program name).  Next the district or jurisdiction columns may be sorted and the file exported to a XLS file.

VDOT HSIP has additional resources on its OutsideVDOT website Highway Safety Projects folder for finding and tracking VDOT and Locally administered HSIP projects.  Contact the HSIP staff for access to VDOT’s Tableau ® active projects tracking tools using free Tableau Reader software. A list of HSP, BPS and H-RGC projects added to the Virginia transportation Six-Year Improvement Program (SYIP) for Virginia’s Fiscal Year 2016-21 will be available after the program is published in July.  

Contact your VDOT District Preliminary Engineering manager and/or the Planning and Investment Management office to determine steps to initiate new projects. Federal authorization for new safety projects may be able to begin as early as July each year.

Cost Participation

VDOT HSIP anticipates providing the 10-percent local match for safety projects funded through MAP-21.

If the final project cost is higher than what was originally submitted, the project manager and sponsor will be responsible for identifying sources for funding over those estimates.

During project delivery, if the cost increases more than 10 percent of the original estimate over the programmed total estimate, a new benefit-cost (B/C) ratio calculation must be submitted to determine if the project remains eligible for additional HSIP funding. Locality and District Traffic Engineering staff typically conducts the economic evaluations.

Should the project B/C become less than 1.0 at any time, the project may not qualify for additional HSIP funds. Please contact HSIP staff for concurrence prior to requesting transfers.

If the cost increase is greater than 10 percent, the safety partner sponsor may be required to cover the additional cost with an alternate funding source or reduce the scope of the project. If neither of these options is feasible, the project may be dropped from the HSIP.

Proposing HSIP Projects

Safety Project Planning

The genesis of effective and appropriate infrastructure safety improvements is identifying problems by combining crash information with engineering and local knowledge. Aggregated motor vehicle crash data is critical information used by federal, state, and local agencies for highway safety research and studies to target limited resources. VDOT HSIP offers a wide variety of data analysis tools, summaries and reports about motor vehicle crashes on our OutsideVDOT site. Contact HSIP staff to obtain access or request other data summaries or reports not published.  To view national fatality statistics including motorists, passengers, and non-motorists (i.e. pedestrians, pedal-cyclists, etc), please navigate to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) webpage.  On this page, you can also view statistics at the state level by clicking the State Traffic Safety Info tab

To conduct network screening to identify locations with Potential for Safety Improvement (PSI), VDOT has developed Virginia specific highway Safety Performance Functions (SPF) using the latest Highway Safety Manual (HSM) methods.   AAHSTO’s Safety Analyst also documents the use of SPFs for network screening.

Virginia’s SPFs based on major and minor road traffic volumes were developed for VDOT maintained intersections with different traffic control and number of roadway approaches. VDOT maintained highway segment traffic volume based SPFs are available for different access-control, cross-sections, and number of lanes for freeways. Locations that have more crashes than expected based on the SPF have a PSI value greater than zero. PSIs indicate engineering review is recommended for possible mitigating countermeasures.  PSIs are published by VDOT District in the Highway Safety Analysis Results and Mapping OutsideVDOT folders.

HSIP also publishes crash frequency based network screening for the SHSP emphasis areas of roadway departure, intersection, speed, and bicycle and pedestrian related crashes.  Ranked listing and GIS maps (KMZ files) are generated for VDOT maintained routes in each jurisdiction. The combination of PSI and frequency (threshold) crash information is beneficial for defining systemic safety improvements. This information is presently being updated and is available upon request of HSIP staff.

In 2014 FHWA completed analysis of roadway departure crash threshold route segment analysis for different systemic countermeasures to mitigate target crash types.  A data user guide, Excel spreadsheet and KMZ maps of 17 countermeasure targeted roadway segments is provided in the Special Studies folder. 

Further, HSIP publishes in pdf format compiled annual crash statistics for each VDOT maintained system: Interstate, Primary and Secondary in the Historical Information folder on OutsideVDOT.

Contact HSIP staff for access to OutsideVDOT.

Hwy Safety Data/Analysis site and Crash Data folder             

The Tableau-Crash Analysis Tool (T-CAT) is a user friendly tool which has been developed in-house by Traffic Engineering Division, Highway Safety Section. The tool is mainly targeted to highway safety professionals who are conducting engineering and traffic safety studies including segment and intersection analyses.  Tableau’s rapid-fire business intelligence provides a fast, easy way to make visual analytics available to everyone.

Project Scoping and Priorities

VDOTs HSIP Guidelines provides safety project countermeasure resource materials and website links to aid in project scoping. FHWA web site provides information on scoping “spot” and route segment (corridor) projects that are typically supported by economic evaluation of the safety benefits and costs as required by VDOT below. FHWA web site on systemic safety improvements provides for identifying locations based on a minimum target crash type threshold, such as two severe crashes per year, or identified risk factors, such as intersection on curves.  NCHRP Report 500 series documents and the Report 600 Human Factors Guidelines for Road Systems also provide information needed to scope potential countermeasures.  Contact HSIP should there be a question of the type of engineering study recommended for a single location versus systemic deployment of lower cost treatments.

Our safety partners should prepare the required engineering safety assessments, studies, sketches, cost estimates, schedules and economic analysis to submit for future highway and non-motorized safety project consideration. Localities and VDOT districts are required to submit a prioritized list of potential HSIP projects based on the schedule year for each phase for the available SYIP funding.

Note that additional information, analysis and improvement documentation may be requested during the HSIP review of the proposals.  

Submission Requirements

A summary of the submission requirements for proposed HSIP improvement projects are:

Highway Safety Program [1]

Bicycle and Pedestrian Safety Program

Highway- Rail Grade Crossing Safety Program

Written description, purpose and need in forms provided.

Detailed sketch/aerial photo(s) showing roadway and traffic control device improvement changes

Detailed costs of improvements by phase and schedule that is feasible

Professional engineer signed safety study of new highway or traffic control device elements


Benefit/Cost Excel sheet

Professional engineer- signed safety assessment study of new highway or traffic control device elements


Related studies and support documents

Professional engineer-signed safety assessment study of new highway or traffic control device elements


Related studies and support documents

Crash Report (FR300) document numbers or paper copies for related crashes [2]

Turning movement counts for intersection improvements (short periods acceptable) Pedestrian counts are preferred n/a

Gap studies for new crossings

(see ITE Manual of Transportation Studies)


[1] Although not presently required by FHWA, a HRRR set aside of HSP would be used on functional classes below rural major collectors and thus requires the same B/C analysis.  Analysis of the associated fatality rate must be completed to determine future allocations.

[2] BPS and HRGC Proposal Safety Studies may be submitted based on risk and/or crash reduction.  If crashes involving non-motorized users or trains have occurred, then the documented crash reports should be submitted.

HSP Proposed Safety Improvements Form

For HSP-proposed improvements, the project description and the B/C spreadsheet are combined into one Excel spreadsheet form to facilitate the electronic transmission of the submitted study. 

The revised FY 2017-22 HSP proposed safety improvement spreadsheet is to be used for both highway intersection and section projects.

New HSP form to calculate Benefit/Cost Ratio:

Chapter 3 call out

Improvements that provide expected crash modifications (reductions) resulting in a B/C greater than 1.0 are eligible for HSIP funding. However, a high B/C does not guarantee funding. Other factors such as the total and targeted severe crashes, validity of improvement countermeasure; project cost and the time frame to complete the project are also considered to prioritize the eligible improvements.

Do not email other large electronic documents with supporting information. Send copies of large documents via U.S. Mail with the signed proposed safety improvement form and the signed and sealed engineering study or RSA.

Proposed Safety Improvement Forms

Highway Safety Program (HSP)

Bike and Pedestrian Safety Program (BPSP)

Non-motorized transportation safety is improved by reducing risk from exposure to motorized vehicles in time and space on the highway network. 

To help localities identify and prioritize locations for improvement, review the report Framework for Selection and Evaluation of Bicycle and Pedestrian Safety Projects in Virginia the report was prepared by the Virginia Center for Transportation Innovation & Research (VCTIR) to determine best practices for targeting safety resources for these vulnerable highway users.

Highway-Rail Grade Crossing Safety Program (H-RGCP)

The public-at-grade crossing ranked risk listing is generated for each VDOT operations region as provided below. If you need assistance interpreting fields contained in the crossing listing or need information on existing projects, please contact Mike Wray (see below).

FY2013-14 HRGCP Risk Listing

Crossing surface improvement proposals should only be submitted for safety related needs such as track misalignment, timbers moving or pumping under traffic movements, vertical clearance issues, and drainage issues on railroad right-of-way causing premature surface failure. Safety funds cannot be utilized specifically for aesthetics or ride quality. In addition, crossing surface safety proposals can only be submitted after the railroad involved has been contacted and concurs. In the past, several rail safety funded surface improvement projects have been cancelled because the railroad’s planned surface maintenance schedule is already underway and completed before Commonwealth Transportation Board approval or federal requirements are met to complete the safety projects. Obviously, these funds could have been used for more pressing safety needs. Please contact Mike Wray before submitting your proposal(s) so that the railroad company / crossing owner may be contacted to inquire about surface maintenance schedules in your area. 

 Rail projects may be proposed using the cost estimate provided on the submittal form. 

Proposed Safety Improvement Submittals and Contacts for information 

Assistant Division Administrator – Safety

Mark Cole, P.E.

Submit questions regarding VDOT’s HSIP to HSIProgram@VirginiaDOT.org

HSIP staff is also available to discuss your safety analysis and planning, roadway safety assessments and project proposals.

Stephen Read, P.E.       Tracy Turpin, P.E.          Michael Wray, H-RGC Program
804-786-9094                 804-786-6610                 804-786-2822

Traffic Engineering Division
Virginia Department of Transportation
1401 E. Broad St.
Richmond, VA 23219
Fax: 804-225-2448



Page last modified: Sept. 9, 2015