US DOT safety goals and the League of American Bicyclists petition
The MAP-21 transportation funding bill passed by the US Congress in 2012 mandates the establishment by the US Department of Transportation of safety goals. Specifically, the law says the USDOT must track serious injuries and fatalities per VMT and set a national safety goal to reduce those injuries and fatalities.
The law says US DOT must consult with state DOTs, Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPOs) and other stakeholders when establishing these goals. DOT reached out to these organizations for their feedback for two weeks last September 2012. Once DOT publishes their rule to the Federal Register with their proposed safety goals, they must provide at least 90 days for public comment on the proposed rule and take into consideration those comments.
The state DOTs are then given these numbers and assigned the goal of bringing the number of fatalities and injuries down within their states. Funding formulas for projects will take into account a project’s ability to improve safety for road users.
The Federal Highway Administration have already signaled the areas they plan to focus on for the $2.4 billion pot of gold known as the Federal Highway Safety Improvement Program (HISP). They plan to set aside money from HISP specifically for (1) high risk rural roads and to (2) address an alarming increase in the number of fatalities and serious injuries among drivers older than age 65. (In California, the state program that manages HISP funds — the Strategic Highway Ssafety Plan (SHSP) — has been used to widen rural roads specifically to improve cyclist safety.)
The League of American Bicyclists says a current draft of DOT’s performance measurement does not include any separate national goals or performance measures to improve the safety of bicyclists and/or pedestrians, and they ask cyclists to contact Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood to include such measures. LAB president Andy Clarke says this is a golden opportunity to encourage states to prioritize spending for cyclist safety at the Federal level.