Highway Safety Improvement Program (HSIP)

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Highway Safety Improvement Program Overview

Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21) was passed into law in July 2012 to make the federal surface transportation programs more streamlined and performance-based. It also addresses challenges facing transportation by improving safety and reducing delays in project delivery. The Fixing America's Surface Transportation (FAST) Act builds on changes made by MAP-21. FAST Act was passed into law in December 2015 and extends MAP-21 to authorize federal surface transportation programs for highways, highways safety, and transit.  FAST Act continues the Highway Safety Improvement Program (HSIP) with minor revisions. The HSIP is a core Federal-aid program with the purpose of achieving a significant reduction in fatalities and serious injuries on all public roads, including non-state-owned public roads and roads on tribal land. (23 U.S.C. 148(b)). FAST Act continues to retain the apportionment rules set under MAP-21. 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 2017-21 Strategic Highway Safety Plan (SHSP). With Virginia’s “Arrive Alive” vision, we should work towards zero highway deaths. Infrastructure and operational “engineering” improvements must partner with education, enforcement and emergency response agencies 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 FAST Act FHWA programs is available at:


Information on the FAST Act 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)
    • Systemic Safety Improvement (SSI)
  • Bicycle and Pedestrian Safety Program (BPSP)
  • Highway-Rail Grade Crossing Safety Program (H-RGCP)

Note: Under ACTION: 23 U.S.C. 148(g) (1) Fiscal Year (FY) 2018 High Risk Rural Roads (HRRR) Special Rules.  Virginia was identified as experiencing an increase in its fatality rate on rural roads over the most recent two-year period. Therefore, the State must obligate a specific amount of funds toward HRRR safety projects in the next fiscal year.

New HSIP project planning and development processes for each program have been developed in consultation with FHWA given the FAST Act 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 7 Cover

Chapter 7 for Locally Administered Projects has been revised.

Local jurisdictions submitting HSIP proposals for FY 19 must meet new criteria and follow new process requirements.

A summary presentation and application process on the chapter is provided here, look for HSIP webinars:

HSIP Projects for Fiscal Year 2020

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.

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 2019-24 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 as outlined by 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 are feasible, the project may be dropped from the HSIP.

Based on new FHWA guidance and VDOT guidance, outlined in IIM-IID-3.0, projects must be fully funded, through construction before any safety funding can be authorized for release.  Once the project funding has been authorized, the project can be designed and constructed within 3 years.

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 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. VDOT Crash Data Analysis Manual has been developed which provide the documentation and guidance on the use of VDOT supplied crash data and its attributes.

Crash data and analysis tools are available here:

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

All safety proposals submitted for considerations must use the SmartPortal and follow the Highway Safety Improvement Program Implementation Guidelines. Contact SmartPortal@CTB.Virginia.gov or CO-TED Highway Safety Improvement program team to obtain log in credentials. If a HSP application was submitted in the past, users can re-use/clone the past application as new application for this fiscal year, and a new APPID will be assigned automatically.

Applications must include an engineering study documenting the purpose and need of any improvements that impact the roadway, traffic operations, and traffic control devices (TCD). The engineering study should include relevant steps outlined in a traditional RSA. The steps for conducting an RSA or to complete an engineering study are documented on the FHWA RSA website and VDOT RSA Guidelines, however applicants are not required to submit a full RSA. Please contact HSIP staff if there is a question about the level of study required. The submitted engineering study, and proposal will form the basis for the initial scoping document for the project.

 Notice: The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) will not be accepting SMART Portal Highway Safety Improvement Program (Section-148) funding applications this cycle. We will only be accepting Highway Rail Grade Crossing (Section-130) program during the August 1st to Nov 1st intake period, please download the paper application and submit via email to mailto:Michael.Wray@vdot.virginia.gov. We appreciate your continued partnership and patience as we work to make improvements to the safety program. If you have any questions or concerns regarding the program, please contact Mr. Tracy Turpin at 804-786-6610, Mr. Deepak Koirala at 804-786-0203, or Mr. Michael Wray at 804-786-2822. Thank You
  • Highway Safety Program (HSP): Portal will not be Open this year
  • Bicycle and Pedestrian Safety Program (BPSP): Portal will not Open this year
  • Systemic Safety Improvement (SSI): Portal will not Open this year
  • Highway-Rail Grade Crossing Safety Program (H-RGCP): August 1st - November 1st

Also follow the Application Portal Process (HSP-BPSP-SSI-RAIL):  Work Flow

Virginia State Preferred Crash Modification Factors (CMF)

CMFs are useful tools for estimating the effect of a treatment on safety performance that can be expected when implementing certain countermeasure. VDOT has developed State preferred CMFs list which will be used to support Virginia’s HSIP program as well as other, broader applications. Click here to download the full listing of Virginia State preferred CMF list. Also, CMF-Calculator has been developed for those CMFs whose function are more complicated. Click here to download the spreadsheet base CMF calculator.

Road Safety Audit (RSA)

A Road Safety Assessments (RSA), also known as Road Safety Audits, are defined as a more formal examination of existing highways or design projects in which a team of independent and multidisciplinary examiners analyzes the site crash history and develops potential safety countermeasures. RSA are identified as critical strategies to address engineering improvements for several of the environmental emphasis areas, such as intersection and roadway departure crashes. Per the Fixing America's Surface Transportation (FAST) Act, passed by Congress on December 3, 2015, RSAs are one type of non-infrastructure activity that is eligible for HSIP funds ((23 U.S.C. 148(a)(4)(B)(xxi)).

VDOT will use the RSA process to continue to reduce the number of severe and fatal crashes by proactively identifying existing and potential safety issues and providing recommended improvements. This document describes the RSA process applied to the HSIP.  Download the submission requirement documents :

Proposed Safety Improvement Forms

In September 2019, the CTB approved an amendment to FY 2020-2025 Six-Year Improvement Program (SYIP) to begin deployment of systemic safety improvements included in an initial Systemic Improvement Plan. The initial Systemic Improvement Plan is currently ongoing with potential project locations identified and implementation of systemic initiatives underway in many locations. Additional information on the initial HSIP Systemic Implementation Plan and implementation criteria is provided on-line at:

Highway Safety Program (HSP)

The primary objective of the HSP is to identify and improve locations where there is a high concentration, or risk, of vehicle crashes that result in deaths or injuries and to implement strategies to attain Virginia’s Towards Zero Deaths vision.  All initial safety proposals submitted for considerations must use the SmartPortal.

Bike and Pedestrian Safety Program (BPSP)

Pedestrian and bicyclist safety is improved by reducing risk from exposure to motorized vehicles by reducing the speed of motor vehicle traffic where pedestrians and bicyclists also travel, and by ensuring appropriate pedestrian and bicycle safety infrastructure is included on the highway network where pedestrians and cyclists travel. Chapter 5 of VDOT's Highway Safety Improvement Program Implementation Guidelines discuss pedestrian and bicyclists safety in some detail.

To help 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 vulnerable highway users.

The VDOT Pedestrian Safety Action Plan (PSAP) summarizes pedestrian safety issues in the Commonwealth, provides a toolbox of pedestrian safety countermeasures that can be used to improve pedestrian safety, and provides an online mapping tool that identifies locations with the most critical pedestrian safety needs. The PSAP priority corridor map and analysis should be referenced to develop HSIP-Bike and Ped applications.

Click here to read and download the PSAP report and appendices. Click here to read and download the supporting updated Virginia Pedestrian Crash Assessment report that includes a detailed review of Virginia pedestrian crashes that occurred between 2014-2018.

All initial safety proposals submitted for considerations must use the SmartPortal

Systemic Safety Improvement (SSI)

The primary objective of the SSI is to address crash types that are not identified through crash frequency, a systemic approach targets/identify locations where risk is greatest regardless of crashes. The SSI process provides a consistent framework for addressing risk using the HSP process by focusing on identifying system-wide roadway safety concerns and strategies to address these concerns. For more detail information’s on SSI please follow the Highway Safety Improvement Program Implementation Guidelines chapter4 and also visit the FHWA Systemic Safety Project Selection Tool. Click here to review the supporting documents that help to understand VDOT systemic definition and step by step procedure to fill the application.

All initial safety proposals submitted for considerations must use the SmartPortal. Any revised application outside the smartportal intake period must use the following spreadsheet.

 SSI proposed safety improvement form (Excel, 422 KB)

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

  • The primary objective of the H-RGCP is to provide funding for the elimination of hazards at public railway-highway crossings in Virginia. Fifty percent of a State's apportionment under 23 USC 130(e) is dedicated for the installation of protective devices at crossings. The remainder of the funds apportionment can be used for any hazard elimination project, including protective devices. For more detail information’s on H-RGCP program please follows the Highway Safety Improvement Program Implementation Guidelines chapter 6.
  • Please contact Mike Wray (Michael.Wray@VDOT.Virginia.gov) 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. All initial safety proposals submitted for considerations must use the SmartPortal. Any revised application outside the Smartportal intake period must use the following spreadsheet.

Highway Safety Improvement Program (HSIP) Program Assessment Report

FHWA conducted the program assessment workshop along with VDOT and other safety stakeholders in March 27th, 2017. The Self-Assessment Tool provides a mechanism for agencies to evaluate HSIP implementation efforts and do a compliance check of the HSIP program policies and guidance. The assessment also includes the Rail Highway Grade Crossing program. The Assessment detail information’s is found in the links: VDOT HSIP Program Assessment Report

Proposed Safety Improvement Submittals and Contacts for Information 

Assistant Division Administrator – Safety

Mark Cole, P.E., 804-786-4196

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

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

Stephen Read, P.E.
HSIP planning manager

Tracy Turpin, P.E.
HSIP project delivery
program manager

In-Kyu Lim, P.E.
HSIP crash and data
analysis program manager

David Rush
Work zone safety
program manager

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

Page last modified: Aug. 10, 2021