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Development of a Municipal-Level Strategic Highway Safety Plan: Case Study for the City of Saskatoon



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There have been many documents published that set strategic goals for the future, including transportation-related goals. However, few documents focus heavily on a specific approach to improve transportation safety. Therefore, a supporting policy document focused on transportation safety is required to ensure that the transportation system runs safely and efficiently; a Strategic Highway Safety Plan (SHSP) serves as that document. A SHSP is a high-level traffic safety policy that represents a scientific, data-driven, four to five year comprehensive safety document that is designed to identify a jurisdiction’s emphasis areas (i.e., key areas of safety concern) and target safety goals [i.e., collision reduction goal(s)], and may also include network screening (i.e., identification of high collision locations) and safety strategies/programs for each chosen emphasis area. There are, however, limited documents that discuss the procedure for the development of a SHSP specifically for a municipality. Therefore, the goal of this research was to improve traffic safety by reducing the number and severity of collisions in municipalities across Canada. The objective for this research was to develop a data-driven and more scientific municipal-level SHSP development process (i.e., procedure and key components) that may be used to improve traffic safety for municipalities across Canada. Existing procedures, key components and approaches to develop the key components in existing SHSPs published mainly in North America were reviewed. The literature review (FHWA, 2006; CCMTA, 2011b) suggested that the typical procedure for the development of a SHSP is identifying a “champion” (i.e., an individual or unit with high-level leadership), developing a vision, identifying key stakeholders, developing the key components (i.e., selecting the key emphasis areas, establishing target safety goals, selecting the strategies/programs for the chosen key emphasis areas), and updating and evaluating the SHSP. The existing procedures and key components were adjusted to create the modified process. The modified process consisted of two additional steps to the procedure: 1) Incorporating Upper-Level Policies and 2) Conducting Network Screening. The modified process also outlined the most appropriate approaches to use to develop the key components of a municipal-level SHSP. The modified process (i.e., procedure and key components) was applied to develop a municipal-level SHSP for the City of Saskatoon through a case study to compare the results to the existing process. Saskatoon’s SHSP included seven emphasis areas for a definite period of time (i.e., for the next five years). Target safety goals, network screening and strategies/programs were also developed, but only for the selected emphasis areas. Recent ten-year (2001-2010) collision data from the SGI was used to select emphasis areas, develop target safety goals and conduct network screening. Based on the case study results, upper-level policies should be incorporated in the development of the key components of a municipal-level SHSP. This is because a municipal-level SHSP is the lowest-level SHSP and should incorporate the emphasis areas, target safety goals and strategies/programs that are included in upper-level SHSPs (i.e., provincial- and federal-level). In addition, the SHSP can act as an operational-level safety action plan that supports a jurisdiction’s Strategic Plan. The addition of network screening also provides useful locations in a municipal-level SHSP. The case study results showed that the modified process provided detailed information required by a municipality to make informed safety investment decisions compared to the basic information the existing process provided. Therefore, the modified process is a data-driven and more scientific process that can be used to develop SHSPs that will improve traffic safety for municipalities across Canada.



Strategic Highway Safety Plan, Emphasis Areas, Target Safety Goals, Network Screening, Safety Strategies/Programs



Master of Science (M.Sc.)


Civil and Geological Engineering


Civil Engineering


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