The Importance of Safety in Transportation Planningtransportation safety

Safety is one of the most important goals in the operation of the transportation system. Over the past three decades, transportation fatality rates have declined in relation to system usage, due in large part to safer cars, tougher police enforcement, and increasing use of seat belts, air bags, and child safety seats. However, in many crash categories, the actual number of crashes has increased because there are more people using the transportation system. Integrating safety into metropolitan transportation planning requires MPO coordination with transit, state highway, and motor carrier safety agencies, and their safety processes.

Adopted Targets

Beginning in January 2017, the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) hosted a series of safety target coordination meetings to identify federal requirements, review historic trends and discuss how state targets would be determined. MACC staff offered input during this process and participated in monthly meetings with MDOT and other MPOs.

The latest annual State targets for safety performance measures were released by MDOT on August 31, 2019, and were adopted by the MACC’s Policy Board on January 6, 2020. Safety predictions are based on the current trends in the data and determined through models developed by the University of Michigan Transportation Institute. Five-year rolling averages are used for the baseline assumptions. Final safety targets were developed after evaluating the correlation between traffic crashes, VMT, Gross Domestic Product (GDP) per capita, and other economic factors that impact travel. FHWA strongly suggests that targets should be based on trends and projections, and not be simply inspirational. There are currently 17 projects obligated in the MACC’s FY20-23 TIP that are specifically geared toward the improvement of safety. State fatalities for 2018 and current trends for 2019 show fatality numbers trending down.

2020 Safety Performance Targets

Safety Performance Measure Baseline (2014-2018) 2020 Target
Fatalities 987.4 999.4
Fatality Rate 0.99 0.97
Serious Injuries 5,415.6 5,520.4
Serious Injury Rate 5.41 5.34
Nonmotorized Fatalities and Serious Injuries 742.4 735.8