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Comprehensive Safety Action Plans

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In the Safe Streets and Roads for All (SS4A) grant program, comprehensive safety action plans (referred to as “Action Plans”) are the basic building block to significantly improve roadway safety.

Action Plans are comprehensive safety plans aimed at reducing and eliminating serious-injury and fatal crashes affecting all roadway users.

Action Plans use data analysis to characterize roadway safety problems and strengthen a community’s approach through projects and strategies that address the most significant safety risks.

The SS4A grant program is guided by the Safe System Approach, which involves a paradigm shift to improve safety culture, increase collaboration across all safety stakeholders, and refocus transportation system design and operation on anticipating human mistakes and lessening impact forces to reduce crash severity and save lives.

8 Components of an Action Plan

Cover of the Safe Streets and Roads for All Action Plan Components PDF.
View a PDF of the SS4A Action Plan components.

The goal of an Action Plan is to develop a holistic, well-defined strategy to prevent roadway fatalities and serious injuries in a locality, Tribal area, or region.

A successful Action Plan includes the following eight key components, which are described in more detail at the end of this web page and in the Action Plan Components PDF (pictured at right):

  1. Leadership commitment and goal setting 
  2. Planning structure 
  3. Safety analysis 
  4. Engagement and collaboration 
  5. Equity 
  6. Policy and process changes 
  7. Strategy and project selections 
  8. Progress and transparency

For an Action Plan to be used for an Implementation Grant or for supplemental planning and demonstration activities only, it must have been finalized or updated between 2019 and April 30, 2024. (This is item #9 on the Self-Certification Eligibility Worksheet.)

Eligible Action Plans

To satisfy the SS4A NOFO requirements to apply for an Implementation Grant or a Planning and Demonstration Grant that includes only supplemental planning and/or demonstration activities, applicants must have an existing Action Plan that meets the following conditions:

  • Is focused on preventing roadway fatalities and serious injuries in a locality, Tribal area, or region, and includes projects and strategies to address the safety problems it identifies.
  • Meets the requirements in the Self-Certification Eligibility Worksheet.
    • For Implementation Grants, the existing plan must have been finalized and/or last updated between 2019 and April 30, 2024. It must be complete and adopted by the time of application submission.
    • For Planning and Demonstration Grants, it can still be in progress at the time of application.
  • The qualifying elements may come from a variety of types of local plans, as long as they meet the requirements of the Self-Certification Eligibility Worksheet. For existing plans that include many but not enough of the elements in the Self-Certification Eligibility Worksheet, applicants may apply for Planning and Demonstration funds to complete or update the existing plan and conduct supplemental planning and/or demonstration activities. Examples of existing plans that may meet the criteria include the following:
    • Vision Zero Action Plans
    • Local Road Safety Plans
    • Tribal Transportation Safety Plans

If another jurisdiction (e.g., an MPO, a county) has an existing plan in place that meets the plan eligibility requirements, an eligible applicant covered within the Action Plan’s geographic boundaries could apply without its own plan as long as the other eligibility requirements are met.

Note: Implementation Grant applicants who meet any of the following conditions must update their Action Plan to align with the Action Plan components in NOFO Table 1 as a condition of receiving SS4A funds:

  • Self-Certification Eligibility Worksheet areas that include a "no" response;
  • Safety focus does not include all road users, and at a minimum includes pedestrians, bicyclists, and motor vehicle safety; or
  • Action Plans whose latest update was more than 3 years ago.

Applicants may include planning and demonstration activities (Activity A) as part of their Implementation Grant application to update their Action Plan accordingly.

Pre-Application Action Plan Review

New in FY24, potential Implementation Grant applicants may submit a completed Self-Certification Eligibility Worksheet and any referenced Action Plan(s) for pre-application review—due by April 17, 2024—so that USDOT may affirm their eligibility to apply for an Implementation Grant.

Learn more on the SS4A Pre-Application Action Plan Review page.

Existing Safety Plans That Meet SS4A Requirements

The SS4A program has received numerous questions about whether existing plans meet Action Plan criteria. The categories below address some of these specific questions.

The Crosswalk: SS4A Action Plan Components and Safety Plan Templates provides some recommendations for determining whether a Local Road Safety Plan or Tribal Transportation Strategic Safety Plan meets SS4A requirements.

Multiple or Single Plans

An eligible Action Plan could be a single plan, or an applicant could point to multiple plans already in place that fulfill the elements of the Action Plan for this funding round.

State-level action plans, including but not limited to Strategic Highway Safety Plans, State Highway Safety Plans, and Public Transportation Agency Safety Plans, cannot be used as an established plan. 

The SS4A program encourages applicants to apply for supplemental planning funds to consolidate existing plans into a single, comprehensive safety action plan covering the entire jurisdiction.

Pedestrian and/or Bicycle Safety Action Plans

For this round of funding, a bicycle and/or pedestrian safety action plan is eligible if it meets the eligibility requirements for an existing Action Plan outlined in the Self-Certification Eligibility Worksheet, even if it does not focus on all roadway users.

We recommend documenting in your application’s narrative the conditions that led the community to decide to develop the mode-specific safety action plan.

Note that as a condition of the grant, recipients would be required to update the existing plans to include analysis of all roadway users.

Transportation Master Plans or Mobility Master Plans

Transportation Master Plans typically include strategic, multimodal transportation visions for a community and do not share the same safety focus that characterizes a comprehensive safety action plan.

However, components required for an established plan to be substantially similar to an Action Plan may be found in multiple plans, including a transportation master plan (e.g., leadership commitment, equity analysis).

Safety Plan in Process

A qualifying comprehensive safety action plan must be completed and adopted between 2019 and April 30, 2024, to be used to apply for an FY24 SS4A Implementation Grant.

If only applying for supplemental planning and/or demonstration activities that will inform the update of an existing plan, an applicant must have a qualifying comprehensive action plan completed and adopted between 2019 and April 30, 2024, or be in the process of developing a comprehensive safety action plan. 

If applying to develop a new Action Plan, applicants do not need to have a comprehensive safety action plan in place.

If your plan is in progress but not yet completed, you may apply for funds to complete or update the plan in addition to supplemental planning and/or demonstration activities. 

Non-Eligible Action Plans

The following Action Plans do not satisfy the SS4A NOFO requirements to apply for an Implementation Grant or a Planning and Demonstration Grant that includes only supplemental planning and/or demonstration projects:

  • Plans that are not primarily focused on road safety.
  • Plans that do not meet the requirements in the Self-Certification Eligibility Worksheet.
  • Plans that do not identify road safety problems and identify a list of projects and strategies to address those problems.
  • State-level plans (e.g., a Strategic Highway Safety Plan required in 23 U.S.C. § 148, State Highway Safety Plans required in 23 U.S.C. § 402, or Commercial Vehicle Safety Plans required in 49 U.S.C. § 31102).
  • Public Transportation Agency Safety Plans required in 49 U.S.C. § 5329.
    • Note: A transit agency may apply for a Planning and Demonstration Grant or partner with communities within its service area to implement projects that improve safety and access to transit.
  • Plans that are only for a corridor or are site specific.
  • Plans that are not complete at the time of application.
  • Plans that were completed or last updated prior to 2019.

Action Plan Components Explained (NOFO Table 1)

A successful Action Plan includes eight key components, which are described in detail below and in Table 1 of the SS4A Notice of Funding Opportunity.

1. Leadership Commitment and Goal Setting

Leadership commitment and goal setting is an official public commitment (e.g., resolution, policy, ordinance) by a high-ranking official and/or governing body (e.g., mayor, city council, Tribal council, metropolitan planning organization, policy board) to an eventual goal of zero roadway fatalities and serious injuries.

The commitment must include a goal and timeline for eliminating roadway fatalities and serious injuries achieved through one, or both, of the following:

  1. The target date for achieving zero roadway fatalities and serious injuries, or
  2. An ambitious percentage reduction of roadway fatalities and serious injuries by a specific date with an eventual goal of eliminating roadway fatalities and serious injuries.

2. Planning Structure

A planning structure is a committee, task force, implementation group, or similar body charged with oversight of the Action Plan development, implementation, and monitoring.

3. Safety Analysis

Safety analysis is analysis of existing conditions and historical trends that provides a baseline level of crashes involving fatalities and serious injuries across a jurisdiction, locality, Tribe, or region.

It includes an analysis of locations where there are crashes and the severity of the crashes, as well as contributing factors and crash types by relevant road users (e.g., motorists, pedestrians, transit users).

Analysis of systemic and specific safety needs is also performed, as needed (e.g., high-risk road features, specific safety needs of relevant road users, public health approaches, analysis of the built environment, demographics, and structural issues).

To the extent practical, the analysis should include all roadways within the jurisdiction, without regard for ownership. Based on the analysis performed, a geospatial identification of higher-risk locations is developed (a high-injury network or equivalent).

4. Engagement and Collaboration

Engagement and collaboration involve robust engagement with the public and relevant stakeholders, including the private sector and community groups, that allows for both community representation and feedback. Information received from engagement and collaboration is analyzed and incorporated into the Action Plan.

Overlapping jurisdictions are included in the process. Plans and processes are coordinated and aligned with other governmental plans and planning processes to the extent practicable.

5. Equity Considerations

Equity considerations include plan development using inclusive and representative processes.

Underserved communities are identified through data and other analyses in collaboration with appropriate partners. Analysis includes both population characteristics and initial equity impact assessments of the proposed projects and strategies.

6. Policy and Process Changes

Policy and process changes include assessment of current policies, plans, guidelines, and/or standards (e.g., manuals) to identify opportunities to improve how processes prioritize transportation safety. The Action Plan discusses implementation through the adoption of revised or new policies, guidelines, and/or standards, as appropriate.

7. Strategy and Project Selections

Strategy and project selections include identification of a comprehensive set of projects and strategies—shaped by data, the best available evidence and noteworthy practices, and stakeholder input and equity considerations—that will address the safety problems described in the Action Plan. These strategies and countermeasures focus on a Safe System Approach and effective interventions and consider multidisciplinary activities.

To the extent practicable, data limitations are identified and mitigated.

Once identified, the projects and strategies are prioritized in a list that provides time ranges for when the strategies and countermeasures will be deployed (e.g., short-, mid-, and long-term timeframes). The list should include specific projects and strategies, or descriptions of programs of projects and strategies, and explains prioritization criteria used. The list should contain interventions focused on infrastructure, behavioral, and/or operational safety.

8. Progress and Transparency

Progress and transparency is a method to measure progress over time after an Action Plan is developed or updated, including outcome data. It’s a means to ensure ongoing transparency is established with residents and other relevant stakeholders.

The approach must include, at a minimum, annual public and accessible reporting on progress toward reducing roadway fatalities and serious injuries and public posting of the Action Plan online.