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Pedestrian and Bicyclist Safety Program Assessment


Pedestrian and Bicyclist Safety Program Technical Assessment: Process Overview

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NHTSA's Assessment Program provides technical assistance to State Highway Safety Offices, State Emergency Medical Services offices, and other State agencies. A team of outside experts conducts a comprehensive assessment of the highway safety program using an organized, objective approach and well-defined procedures that:

  • Provide an overview of the program's current status in comparison to pre-established standards;
  • Note the program’s strengths and weaknesses; and
  • Provide recommendations for improvement.

Although a comparison is made to existing standards, the State may also request technical assistance that addresses unique concerns, as well as specialized expertise on the team. Not only does the assessment provide useful recommendations, the dialogue and report are also educational for the State and its highway safety customers. It is important the technical assessment process is open, collegial, and viewed by all as constructive and non-punitive.

How Do Technical Assessments Benefit the State?

The technical assessment will benefit your State office by:

  • Providing an opportunity for open, non-threatening dialogue between the host office and its customers;
  • Assisting with long-range planning;
  • Assisting with resource allocation;
  • Identifying strengths, weaknesses, and opportunities for improvement;
  • Generating administrative and political support for program improvement; and
  • Serving as a benchmark against which to measure future improvements.

How Do Technical Assessments Benefit NHTSA Regions and Headquarters?

The technical assessment will benefit your Regional office or Headquarters by:

  • Using known experts to provide technical assistance to State programs;
  • Developing aggregated Regional and National information concerning program strengths and weaknesses and opportunities for improvement; and
  • Assisting individual States with programmatic improvements.

What Programs Are Eligible for Technical Assessments?

Technical assessments are offered for the following program areas:

  • Emergency medical services;
  • Impaired driving;
  • Occupant protection;
  • Occupant protection for children;
  • Traffic records;
  • Motorcycle safety;
  • Standardized field sobriety tests;
  • Pedestrian safety

The program assessment standards are based on the Uniform Guidelines for State Highway Safety Programs, which are periodically updated.

What's the Technical Assessment Process?

The Pedestrian and Bicyclist Safety Program Assessment examines significant components of a State's pedestrian safety program. Each State, in cooperation with its political subdivisions, should have a comprehensive pedestrian and bicycle program that educates and motivates its citizens to follow safe pedestrian and bicycle practices. A combination of legislation, regulations policy, enforcement, public information, education, incentives and engineering is necessary to achieve significant, lasting improvements in pedestrian and bicycle crash rates, and to reduce resulting deaths and injuries.

Who Conducts the Technical Assessment?

An assessment team with demonstrated national program and specialized expertise is selected to address the State's unique needs. An administrative consultant who is familiar with the assessment process is selected as well. NHTSA headquarters and Regional staff facilitate the assessment by ensuring proper planning and implementation.

Information needed to complete the assessment is collected through a review of written materials in the team's briefing package (prepared by the State), through presentations by and interviews with key State individuals, and through interviews with other stakeholders. Other stakeholders represent public and private sector organizations or agencies at both the State and local levels. The stakeholders may vary depending on the State’s unique characteristics.

All team members will participate in the questioning on all pedestrian and bicycle safety program components, but the team member who is primarily responsible for a section will take the lead.

Following the review of written materials and the comprehensive briefing process, the team convenes to analyze the information that has been presented, compare the State's program to established standards, reach consensus on its recommendations for program improvement, and generate a draft report to be presented to the State at the end of the assessment.

The team bases its recommendations on what was presented to them during the assessment process, and what they believe can improve the effectiveness and comprehensiveness of the State's program. While each team member has specific expertise and may be responsible for particular sections, the final report must be a comprehensive assessment of the program that represents a consensus of all of the team members.

NHTSA staff does not participate in the team deliberations; however, they may serve as a resource for technical and process issues.

On the final day of the assessment, the team briefs officials from the State and other invited guests as determined by the State on the findings and recommendations of the assessment. In most cases, the team discusses the major points of the assessment and the major recommendations, and will not read the report verbatim. A draft of the report will be left with the State for its review. Technical corrections may be submitted to NHTSA Headquarters program staff, but NHTSA staff will make no substantive modifications to the final report.

What's in the Final Report?

The final report shall include:

  • Title Page
  • Table of Contents
  • Executive Summary
  • Summary of Major Recommendations
  • Report Section including Assessment Standards
  • People interviewed
  • List of Team Member including their credentials
  • Assessment Agenda

When is the Final Report Issued to the State?

NHTSA will provide the final report to the State within 14 days after the assessment. The report is the team's product; neither NHTSA nor the State approves or disapproves the report's recommendations. The State will, however, have the opportunity to review the report before it is transmitted from NHTSA to the State in final form.

NHTSA encourages the State to use the report's recommendations in its strategic planning. The final report belongs to the State. Requests for copies of the report will be directed to the State.

How Do I Host a Technical Assessment?

Contact your NHTSA Regional Office to discuss the possibility of hosting a Pedestrian and Bicyclist Safety Program Technical Assessment.