Traffic Safety Digest - Winter 2002
Assessing Community Traffic Safety (ACTS)

Provides Traffic Safety Assessment for Coalitions
Safe Communities
All Populations


Local agencies are in the best position to identify specific traffic safety problems and bring a community coalition together to resolve them. The Assessing Community Traffic Safety (ACTS) tool is intended to give community coalitions a means of identifying their resources (assets) to address traffic safety problems (deficits). Research shows that communities that build assets see a corresponding decrease in deficits. The Office of Highway Safety Planning provided funding to develop the ACTS tool, which has been the most important component of the Safe Communities program.


The program goal was to promote traffic safety at the local level and increase the number of community based programs, by:

  • increasing the number of Safe Communities;

  • fostering community involvement to identify problems and solutions;

  • coordinating traffic safety initiatives at the local level;

  • identifying strategies to prevent injuries and save lives; and

  • providing a baseline against which progress can be measured.


The ACTS is a user friendly, web-based program ( ACTS provides short surveys for key community groups (including law enforcement agencies, courts, health departments, hospitals, Emergency Medical Services (EMS), major employers, schools, and youth). The software combines survey responses with crash and safety data to create a report on community traffic safety assets and deficits. This information is then used to develop a strategic plan to help communities strengthen injury prevention infrastructures and implement strategies to reduce the toll taken by traffic injuries.

The program, offered at no cost, strengthens coalitions by providing participants with a common frame of reference. It attracts new partners that can clearly see the extent and toll of the traffic injury problem in order to develop a comprehensive effort to prevent these injuries.

To be considered a Safe Community, coalitions must do the following.

  • Complete the ACTS or another form of problem identification.

  • Have a coalition in place with various disciplines represented.

  • Conduct an injury prevention program based on the ACTS data.

Safe Community resource consultants have been trained to provide technical assistance, strategic plans, and injury prevention initiatives to the coalitions of the ACTS.


Using the ACTS, over 40 communities/ counties/townships have identified their traffic safety assets and deficits and are working on prevention programs based on data. At least another 30 are working on completing the ACTS. Several communities have seen positive results in working with their local employers. There are plans to blend the Safe Community program with the Network of Employers for Traffic Safety (NETS). Community coalitions can easily re-distribute the local surveys to evaluate the effectiveness of their injury prevention programs. Communities can post successful programs on the web site. The Safe Communities program has grown from 15 in FY 99 to over 40 in FY 01. (This does not include the number of coalitions who are working on the ACTS.) The growth of the program resulted in developing a strategic plan and providing resources and training for Safe Community resource consultant.


Section 402: $30,000
Dr. Bill Donohue
Michigan State University
563 Comm. Arts & Sciences
E. Lansing, MI 48824
(517) 355-7580

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

   WINTER 2002     

nhtsa's logo, people saving people,
link to Winter 2002 home page link to the next record