The United States Road Assessment Program (usRAP) offers highway engineers, safety planners, and transportation officials unique and user-friendly tools for evaluating the safety of their road networks and directing limited resources for improvements to the areas where they will have the most impact.
Using video logs and other data, usRAP’s star-rating system uses a familiar 1 – 5 scale to rate the safety of a road segment according to its design features and operating conditions. For each star rating increase that a road segment earns, the socioeconomic costs of crashes on that stretch are roughly halved. In addition, program software will then prepare a “safer roads investment plan” – an analysis of approximately 70 possible engineering treatments and crash countermeasures that might be considered for the segment in question, and a rank-ordered cost-benefit list of each.
Program software can be applied to any road network under Federal, state, local, or tribal jurisdiction. A key advantage of the software is that it does not require detailed site-specific crash data as input. Thus, usRAP is particularly well suited for:
- highway agencies that do not have access to automated crash data
- highway agencies whose crash data are poorly located and are not sufficiently accurate for site-specific analysis
- highway agencies with low-volume road networks on which crashes are too sparse for traditional high-crash location analysis
Many local agencies, including counties and cities, find themselves in these situations. Agencies with all types of roads have found that site-specific crash histories are too variable from year to year to serve as a reliable basis for safety planning. As an alternative to reliance on crash history data, usRAP uses a risk-based approach, based on crash prediction models driven by roadway design and traffic control characteristics.
usRAP was launched in 2004 by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety and has been directed by the Roadway Safety Foundation since 2014. It is an independent, self-sustaining affiliate of the International Road Assessment Programme (iRAP), a UK-based charity that oversees RAPs in Europe, Australia, New Zealand, China, and elsewhere.
usRAP's goals and objectives include:
- To support iRAP and its vision of a world free of high-risk roads, by ensuring that ALL highway authorities have access to a robust and cost-effective tool for data-driven safety analysis
- To provide a unique, innovative, and proactive means of enhancing the safety of the built road environment, so that hazardous designs and risky locations can be assessed and corrected even before a death or serious injury occurs
- To reduce death and serious injury on U.S. roads through a program of systematic assessment of risk that identifies major safety shortcomings, which can be addressed by practical road improvement measures.
- To ensure that limited resources are efficiently allocated so that the greatest safety gains can be made within existing constraints
- To forge partnerships among those responsible for a safe road system.
About the Roadway Safety Foundation
The Roadway Safety Foundation is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit educational and charitable organization chartered in 1995 by the American Highway Users Alliance. Our mission is to reduce the frequency and severity of motor vehicle crashes, injuries, and fatalities through improvements to roadway systems and their environment. The physical characteristics of America’s roadways can be improved through design and engineering, operating conditions, removal of roadside hazards, and the effective use of safety features. RSF works by building awareness through media campaigns and outreach activities, developing educational materials, and forming roadway safety partnerships between the private and public sectors. Our programs are funded by grants, sponsorships, membership contributions, and donations from others who share the Foundation’s life saving mission. Our predecessor organization, the Automotive Safety Foundation, dates back to 1937 when it was created by automobile and allied industries to coordinate highway safety activities.
Visit the Roadway Safety Foundation's main website at www.roadwaysafety.org.