The registration portal is open for the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials 2023 Safety Summit in Kansas City October 17-19.
[Above image by AASHTO]
The Safety Summit is being held in conjunction with a joint meeting of AASHTO’s Committee on Safety, Council on Active Transportation, and Committee on Planning, which will meet after the Safety Summit concludes to craft a “safety action plan” designed to advance safety consistently throughout the transportation project development lifecycle and across the functions and services of state departments of transportation.
Conceived by Roger Millar – secretary of the Washington State Department of Transportation and current AASHTO president – the summit seeks to instill a more comprehensive approach to safety by incorporating it more deeply into every phase of a transportation project, from planning and design through construction and maintenance.
“Crash fatality and injury numbers are going the wrong way; they are going up – particularly for bicyclists and pedestrians,” Millar explained during a recent presentation to AASHTO’s staff. “That’s why we are having this safety summit in October, so we can undergo a complete reset where safety is concerned.”
Millar has also pointed to a major economic toll due to roadway fatalities and injuries. For example, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration released a study in January showing that when quality-of-life valuations are considered, the total value of societal harm from motor vehicle crashes in 2019 was nearly $1.4 trillion. That report – “The Economic and Societal Impact of Motor Vehicle Crashes, 2019” – examined the costs of one year of crashes that killed an estimated 36,500 people, injured 4.5 million, and damaged 23 million vehicles.
To that end, the summit’s goal is to produce a comprehensive safety action plan that “institutionalizes” leading highway safety principles into state DOT policies, processes, and activities, including:
- The goal of “Zero Deaths” and serious injuries on U.S. roadways;
- Explicit consideration of safety for all road users in decisions;
- Equity in road safety for all users;
- Proactive and forward-looking approaches to safety, including sharing the responsibility for safety across job functions and project development phases; and
- Developing both organizational and community-wide traffic safety culture.
The plan will also include strategies to:
- Support state DOTs in their efforts to address safety throughout the transportation project development life cycle and across state DOT functions and services;
- Address leading safety principles in the context of state DOT functions, whose facilities range from rural to urban and from interstate highways to neighborhood streets, trails, and paths;
- Encourage communication and integration of efforts between DOT functions and project life cycle phases; and
- Fill gaps between current and needed resources, calling upon AASHTO and partner agencies to support the development of tools, resources, research, etc.
Following the Safety Summit, key AASHTO committees and staff will prepare a draft of the plan for review by the AASHTO Board of Directors at the 2023 Annual Meeting in November, where it will be submitted for approval and adoption. Once adopted, AASHTO staff, committees, and councils will go to work implementing the plan.
To register for AASHTO’s 2023 Safety Summit, click here.