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Highway Safety Manual (HSM) in Oregon
Overview

The 1st Edition of the Highway Safety Manual (HSM) was published by the American Association of State Highway Transportation Officials (AASHTO) in 2010. It was developed to help measurably reduce the frequency and severity of crashes on highways by providing tools for considering safety in the planning and project development processes. The HSM assists practitioners in selecting countermeasures and prioritizing projects, comparing alternatives, and quantifying and predicting the safety performance of roadway elements considered in planning, design, construction, maintenance, and operation.
 
The Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) has assembled a team of practitioners to review the HSM and provide guidance on how to apply certain parts of the HSM to state highways including transportation planning and highway safety engineering. Key contacts from the Transportation Planning Analysis Unit (TPAU) and Traffic—Roadway Section (TRS) that lead this team of practitioners are listed below:
 
Doug Norval, P.E., Transportation Analysis Engineer
ODOT Transportation Planning Analysis Unit
555 13th Street NE, Suite 2
Salem, OR 97301
Phone: 503-986-4111
Email: douglas.d.norval@odot.state.or.us
 
Kevin Haas, P.E., Traffic Investigations Engineer
ODOT Traffic—Roadway Section
4040 Fairview Industrial Drive SE
Salem, OR 97302
Phone: 503-986-3580
Email: kevin.j.haas@odot.state.or.us
 

 
Oregon Applications of HSM


Unlike engineering standards documents such as the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD) or the AASHTO Policy on Geometric Design of Highways and Streets (also known as the AASHTO Green Book), the HSM is not a highway safety standards manual that is formally adopted by a State. In fact, the Preface of the HSM points out that the HSM does not establish a legal standard of care for highway safety. Rather, the document is intended to be implemented in conjunction with other highway safety engineering policies for the State DOT or local jurisdiction.
 
ODOT’s assembled team of practitioners are reviewing different elements of the HSM and integrating some of the principles and methodologies into our highway safety engineering and transportation planning policies and guidelines. Here are some of the HSM implementation activities that ODOT’s assembled team of practitioners have recently been involved in:
  1. HSM Calibration for Oregon – Oregon State University (OSU) and Portland State University (PSU) completed a research study in February 2012 funded by ODOT Research to develop calibration factors for Oregon to use the predictive methods found in the 1st Edition of the HSM. Calibrating the HSM methodologies is a key step to implementing various parts of the HSM in Oregon.
  2. Data Needs Assessment for Part B of the HSM – OSU also conducted a study to assess the data deficiencies in Oregon’s crash and roadway inventory databases to fully implement the methodologies found in Part B of the HSM.
  3. TPF-5(255) HSM Implementation Multi-State Pooled Fund Study – ODOT is participating with 14 other States and the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) in a pooled fund research study to learn from other States and share information on how other States are implementing the HSM.
  4. Bi-monthly ODOT team meetings with HSM practitioners – ODOT staff from the Traffic-Roadway Section and Transportation Planning Analysis Unit meet together every other month to exchange status updates on HSM implementation activities and plan for future implementation tasks.
  5. Safety Investigations Manual–This manual is a resource to assist ODOT traffic investigators with highway safety project screening and evaluations. It contains some HSM concepts and is a good resource for practitioners who regularly investigate highway safety issues and perform highway safety assessments.

By far the largest barrier to HSM implementation in Oregon is the need for better crash and roadway inventory data that can be easily integrated into automated HSM tools to provide system-wide highway safety analysis. Many of the research activities and discussions with ODOT staff are centered around these issues.
 

 
HSM Training

Several different training opportunities exist for those who are interested in learning more about the HSM and how to use the various methodologies outlined in the HSM.
  1. Highwaysafetymanual.org – The official AASHTO web site for the HSM contains several online training guides and links to online training resources.
  2. Kiewit Center for Infrastructure and Transportation – OSU offers several continuing education workshops focused on highway safety throughout the year. One workshop specifically focuses on the 1st Edition of the HSM. Check the OSU Kiewit Center web site for class schedules and registration information.
  3. HSM training for ODOT practitioners (Under development) – ODOT is developing a 1-day training class aimed specifically at applying the HSM to state highways and how the HSM ties into ODOT highway safety engineering policies and procedures.We are hopeful of launching an initial training session in fall 2012. More information will be posted to this page after initial training dates are scheduled.

 
HSM Companion Software

Microsoft Excel HSM Spreadsheets - A set of 3 smart Excel spreadsheets were developed for training purposes as part of NCHRP Project 17-38. However these spreadsheets can be used as a companion tool to the HSM Part C Predicitive Methods as well. The generic spreadsheets are posted on the HSM web site or you can use the modified Oregon spreadsheets that include locally-derived values from the HSM Calibration for Oregon report. 

Generic HSM Spreadsheets - Free spreadsheets available to download from the AASHTO Highway Safety Manual web site.

Oregon HSM Spreadsheets with locally-derived valuesSame free spreadsheets linked above but includes locally-derived values based on 2004-2006 Oregon crash data. Please note limitiations of each spreadsheet listed below:

  1. Rural Two-Lane Highways - Locally-derived values enabled by default. See Segment & Intersection Tables for locally-derived values and consult HSM Calibration for Oregon report for explanations of these values.
  2. Rural Multilane Highways -  Locally-derived values enabled by default. See Segment & Intersection Tables for locally-derived values and consult HSM Calibration for Oregon report for explanations of these values. No locally-derived values available for Four-leg singalized intersections on rural multilane highways.
  3. Urban/Suburban Arterials​ - Locally-derived values enabled by default. See Segment & Intersection Tables for locally-derived values and consult HSM Calibration for Oregon report for explanations of these values. No locally-derived values available for Table 12-21.

Crash Modification Factors Clearinghouse – Companion tool to HSM Part D Crash Modification Factors—This is a free web site funded by FHWA and maintained by the University of North Carolina Highway Safety Research Center.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
                   
PLANSAFE - Planning level safety forecasting tool (Developed as part of National Cooperative Highway Research Program (NCHRP)Project 08-44) — This is a free tool provided by the Transportation Research Board (TRB).
 
Interactive Highway Safety Design Model – Companion tool to HSM Part C Predictive Methods—This is a free tool maintained by the Turner-Fairbank Highway Research Center of the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and provides detailed analysis for the predictive method.
 
HiSafe-Companion tool to HSM Part C Predictive Methods — This is not a free tool and licenses are sold by Digiwest. Licenses start at $500 for a single user license.
 
SafetyAnalyst – Companion tool to HSM Part B Roadway Safety Management Process—This is not a free tool and licenses are sold by AASHTO under the AASHTOWare licensing program. Licenses start at $15,000 and go up to $25,000 annually for a site license.
 
 

 
HSM in Oregon FAQ
Here are some of the most Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) concerning the application of the HSM in Oregon:

Q1:Can ODOT, local jurisdictions and consultants start using the HSM in Oregon?
A: Yes. As mentioned in the HSM Application section of this page, the HSM is not formally adopted as a highway safety engineering standard like the MUTCD or AASHTO Green Book are adopted as traffic and roadway engineering standards respectively. However, practitioners need to take into account the “Cautions and Considerations when using the HSM” listed in the Preface of the HSM. When applying the HSM to projects or planning activities on the State Highway System, practitioners should consult with key ODOT staff familiar with the HSM prior to beginning analysis work.
 
Q2: How can I get involved in the review process for HSM issues and developing HSM implementation guidelines for Oregon?
A: Contact either of the subject matter experts listed below.
 
Q3: How can I obtain electronic or printed copies of the HSM?
A: The HSM is published by AASHTO and they retain the copyright. The AASHTO Bookstore contains ordering information for both electronic and printed copies of the HSM.
 
Q4: Where can I find more information on the HSM?
A. The official AASHTO web site “highwaysafetymanual.org” is a good starting point. The site contains links to several other HSM resources and has a User Discussion Forum.
 
Q5: Who are the main contacts in ODOT for HSM information and HSM implementation?
A: For transportation planning and analysis, the main contact person is Doug Norval, P.E., ODOT Transportation Analysis Engineer (Phone: 503-986-4111; Email: douglas.d.norval@odot.state.or.us).  For traffic and highway safety engineering, the main contact person is Kevin Haas, P.E., ODOT Traffic Investigations Engineer (Phone: 503-986-3580; Email: kevin.j.haas@odot.state.or.us)

 
HSM Research Activities
 
Developing Safety Performance Functions for Oregon Collector, Local, and Low-Volume Roads—ODOT’s Research Section is funding a study starting in 2012 to develop Safety Peformance Functions using Oregon data.
 
Safety Performance Measures for Roundabout Applications in Oregon—This research effort is evaluating the crash history at roundabout locations to determine suitable safety performance metrics for use in evaluating roundabout decisions in the State of Oregon.