Despite all the tumult with the federal transportation bill, one modest source of safety funding is likely to continue: the Highway Safety Improvement Program (HSIP). The program is used to address a wide variety of safety concerns such as seatbelt use, drunk driving, and high-collision locations (often fixing bad roadway design). Each state is required to adopt a Strategic Highway Safety Plan (SHSP) identifying safety emphasis areas and detailed action strategies. States can then use HSIP funds to address these emphasis areas.
Advocacy Advance, a partnership of the League of American Bicyclists and the Alliance for Biking and Walking, published a report several years ago to guide advocates looking to access HSIP funds for bicycle and pedestrian safety projects. One aspect of the report was a matrix of state SHSPs, and if they include bicycle and pedestrian safety emphasis areas. Based on data from the 2012 Bicycle Friendly State survey, we’re providing an updated SHSP emphasis areas matrix. This information is great for advocates looking to increase the amount of safety funding spent on bicycles and pedestrians in their state.
Click here to download the new SHSP matrix.
The good news? A majority of states have bicycle and pedestrian safety in their SHSPs. Bicycles can be found in 29 plans, while pedestrians are found in 33 plans. All of the states that include bicycles also include pedestrians, often under a vulnerable road users or similar category.
The bad news? Very few states are actually spending HSIP funds on bicycle and pedestrian safety, especially the least safe states for bicycling (identified in the Alliance’s 2012 Benchmarking Report). Florida spends approximately four percent of their HSIP funds on bicycle and pedestrian safety, far and away the highest of any state. However, biking and walking account for 14 percent of fatalities in the U.S.
There’s definitely room for improvement in how our states spend safety funds. The first step is simple enough – recognize bicycle and pedestrian safety as a concern and a SHSP emphasis area. Check out the Advocacy Advance Highway Safety Improvement Program report to learn what advocates can do to access these funds and create safer streets for bicycles and pedestrians.
League State and Local Advocacy Coordinator
Mr. Wempe joined the League in September 2011. For the three years prior, he worked as a transportation planner and Safe Routes to School Coordinator in Fort Collins, Colo. He holds a BA in Economics from the University of Illinois at Chicago and a Masters of Urban and Regional Planning from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.