About the research
Although many larger Iowa cities have staff traffic engineers who have a dedicated interest in safety, smaller jurisdictions do not. Rural agencies and small communities must rely on consultants, if available, or local staff to identify locations with a high number of crashes and to devise mitigating measures. However, smaller agencies in Iowa have other available options to receive assistance in obtaining and interpreting crash data. These options are addressed in this manual.
Many proposed road improvements or alternatives can be evaluated using methods that do not require in-depth engineering analysis. The Iowa Department of Transportation (DOT) supported developing this manual to provide a tool that assists communities and rural agencies in identifying and analyzing local roadway-related traffic safety concerns.
In the past, a limited number of traffic safety professionals had access to adequate tools and training to evaluate potential safety problems quickly and efficiently and select possible solutions. Present-day programs and information are much more conducive to the widespread dissemination of crash data, mapping, data comparison, and alternative selections and comparisons. Information is available and in formats that do not require specialized training to understand and use.
This manual describes several methods for reviewing crash data at a given location, identifying possible contributing causes, selecting countermeasures, and conducting economic analyses for the proposed mitigation. The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) has also developed other analysis tools, which are described in the manual.
This manual can also serve as a reference for traffic engineers and other analysts.