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Safer Roads

A street with a raised median and a marked crosswalk at a roundabout with yield signs and a school bus stopped for boarding passengers at the opposite entrance of the roundabout.Design roadway environments to mitigate human mistakes and account for injury tolerances, to encourage safer behaviors, and to facilitate safe travel by the most vulnerable users.

Roadway design strongly influences how people use roadways. The environment around the roadway system—including land use and the intersections of highways, roads, and streets with other transportation modes such as rail and transit—also shapes the safety risks borne by the traveling public. 

U.S. DOT has advanced an initiative to develop a growing collection of Proven Safety Countermeasures that offers effective strategies to reduce fatalities and serious injuries on our Nation’s roadways. 

Transportation agencies are strongly encouraged to consider widespread implementation of countermeasures to accelerate the achievement of local, State, Tribal, and National safety goals. These strategies are designed for all road users and all types of roads—from rural to urban, from high-volume freeways to less traveled two-lane State and county roads, from signalized crossings to horizontal curves, and everything in between. 

Proven Safety Countermeasures

The Proven Safety Countermeasures initiative is a collection of countermeasures and strategies effective in reducing roadway fatalities and serious injuries on our Nation’s highways.

Four sample countermeasures improve pedestrian, cyclist, and rural roadway safety:

An icon of a person crossing a lighted crosswalk that's marked with a pedestrian crossing sign.

Crosswalk Visibility Enhancements

Crosswalk visibility enhancements—lighting, signing and pavement markings, and high-visibility crosswalks—can greatly reduce pedestrian crashes.

An icon of a person crossing the street in a crosswalk at a median.

Medians and Pedestrian Refuge Islands

Medians and pedestrian refuge islands can reduce pedestrian crashes by about 50 percent.

An icon of a bicycle lane that's separated from road traffic.

Bicycle Lanes

Separated bicycle lanes can reduce crashes up to 49 percent on certain four-lane roads as well as local roads.

An icon of rumble strips on a roadway.

Rumble Strips

Rumble strips can reduce head-on fatal and injury crashes by as much as 64 percent on the center line of two-lane rural roads.

Redundancy Is Critical

The Safe System Approach emphasizes that redundancy is critical, and safer roadways mean incorporating design elements that offer layers of protection to prevent crashes from occurring and mitigate harm when they do occur. 

Through the NRSS, the Department will focus on advancing infrastructure design and interventions that will significantly enhance roadway safety.

Key Departmental Actions to Enable Safer Roads

View a full-screen version of the below NRSS Dashboard.

Last updated: Friday, October 14, 2022