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Planning and Demonstration Activities - SS4A

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Overview

Planning and Demonstration Grants are one of two available grant types under the Safe Streets and Roads for All (SS4A) program.

Planning and Demonstration Grants provide Federal funds to do three types of activities:

  1. Develop a comprehensive safety action plan (referred to as an “Action Plan”)
  2. Conduct supplemental safety planning to complete or enhance an Action Plan
  3. Carry out demonstration activities to inform the development of, or an update to, an Action Plan

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.

The following content discusses more details about the above three activities. Applicants may—and are encouraged to—include supplemental planning activities to support an Action Plan and demonstration activities to support an Action Plan within either grant type: Planning and Demonstration Grants or Implementation Grants.

#1: Eligible Action Plan Activities

Applicants who wish to develop an Action Plan may:

  • Develop a new Action Plan
  • Enhance an existing local road safety plan, Tribal transportation plan, or other planning document to include all SS4A components of an Action Plan listed in Table 1 of the NOFO

See Comprehensive Safety Action Plans or Table 1 in the SS4A Notice of Funding Opportunity for more details on Action Plans.

#2: Eligible Supplemental Planning Activities

“Supplemental planning” broadly refers to any activity that informs the development of a new or existing Action Plan.

Eligible supplemental planning activities include, but are not limited to, the following:

Action Plan Updates

Updating existing Action Plans. For example, update a plan that is 5 or more years old to address emerging safety transportation issues or other concerns is an eligible supplemental planning activity.

NOTE: The SS4A team will now pre-screen your Action Plan, or combination of plans, to assess eligibility to apply for an Implementation Grant. Pre-screening is not a requirement, and plans may be submitted with application materials. Learn more, including how to request a review, on the SS4A Pre-Application Action Plan Review page.

Action Plan Consolidation

Consolidating Action Plan components contained within multiple local and/or regional plans into a single comprehensive safety action plan is an eligible supplemental planning activity.

Complementary Safety Plan Development

Developing additional, complementary safety plans focused on topics such as speed management, vulnerable road users, accessibility for individuals with disabilities, Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 transition plans, health equity, safety-focused intelligent transportation system implementation, lighting, or other relevant topics are eligible supplemental planning activities.

Road Safety Audits

Conducting road safety audits to identify road safety issues at existing and/or future road intersections are eligible supplemental planning activities.

Preliminary engineering and construction design for a project are not eligible supplemental planning activities but are eligible activities for Implementation Grant applications.

Follow-Up Data Collection and Safety Analysis

Conducting follow-up data collection and safety analysis to inform the development of new or existing Action Plans are eligible supplemental planning activities.

Examples include the following:

  • New collision data analysis to identify updates to the high-injury network. 
  • Targeted equity assessments that identify underserved communities and the impact of crashes on those communities, assess the equity impacts of proposed projects, establish equity-based prioritization criteria, and involve meaningful and equitable stakeholder engagement.
  • Roadway safety-related inventories (such as sidewalk inventories) and road user counts (such as pedestrian/bike counts).

Progress Reporting

Progress reporting on Action Plan implementation for transparency to local stakeholders (e.g., data dashboards, summary reports of projects and strategies implemented/to be implemented) is an eligible supplemental planning activity.

Stakeholder Engagement and Collaboration

Stakeholder engagement and collaboration to inform Action Plan development are eligible supplemental planning activities.

Roadway Safety Planning

Other roadway safety planning activities that enhance or inform the development of an Action Plan are eligible supplemental planning activities.  

#3: Eligible Demonstration Activities

Demonstration activities are temporary safety improvements that inform comprehensive safety action plans (referred to as “Action Plans”) by testing proposed project and strategy approaches to determine future benefits and future scope.

Eligible activities must measure potential benefits through data collection and evaluation (e.g., pre- and post-demonstration results) to inform an Action Plan’s list of selected projects and strategies and their future implementation at a systematic level.

Demonstration activities do not involve permanent roadway reconstruction.

Eligible demonstration activities include, but are not limited to the following:

Feasibility Studies

Feasibility studies using quick-build strategies, low-cost, and temporary materials that have the potential to inform future permanent projects are eligible demonstration activities.

Examples include the following:

  • Planters, temporary speed humps/bumps, and other removable safety and traffic calming improvements (see photo 1 below)
  • Paint and plastic delineator posts to experiment with temporary roadway design changes (see photos 2 and 3 below)
A photo showing a car driving across an intersection on a residential street at dusk. It shows use of a temporary roundabout made with reflective traffic cones and signs.
Photo 1. Source: Solomon Foundation
A picture showing a traffic circle with a bike lane, a bus, and pedestrians crossing in a crosswalk. It shows use of paint and flexible posts to narrow the vehicle lanes to slow traffic and make space for walking and bicycling.
Photo 2. Source: U.S. DOT Volpe Center
A picture showing a street with a person riding a bicycle in a bike lane separated by plastic delineators. It shows use of temporary materials to create separate bicycle infrastructure.
Photo 3. Source: Solomon Foundation

Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Device (MUTCD) Engineering Studies

Various MUTCD Engineering Studies that further safety applications of the MUTCD are eligible demonstration activities.

Examples include the following:

  • General application of roadway signage (e.g., overhead sign installations, sign conspicuity treatments, Yield/Stop/All-Way Stop sign installations, warning signs and object markers)
  • Setting safe speed limits and/or variable speed limits
  • Evaluating warrants for traffic signal installation
  • Evaluating warrants for pedestrian hybrid beacon installations
  • Warrants for use of edge lines
  • Accessible pedestrian signal display installation
  • Rectangular rapid-flashing beacons for vulnerable road users
  • Mid-block crosswalk installations
  • Lane-use/reversible lane control signs
  • Maintaining minimum pavement marking retro-reflectivity
  • High-visibility crosswalk markings
  • Bike lane treatments

Behavioral or Operational Activity Pilot Programs

Pilot programs for behavioral or operational activities that include at least one element of the Safe System Approach are eligible demonstration activities.

Examples include the following:

  • Testing out, on a small scale, a new education campaign’s messaging related to distracted driving or car seat safety or promoting the use of seat belts.
  • Offering “pop-up” safety demonstrations using materials to temporarily demonstrate potential and planned street design treatments and safety infrastructure to create safer public spaces (e.g., temporary traffic gardens or open streets pilot events).
  • Pilot testing programs to better engage with community members on traffic safety in their neighborhoods, such as bus-stop engagements to collect feedback or setting up a booth at community events.
  • Pilot testing a ride share or alternative transportation program in an area that has high impaired driving crashes/fatalities.
  • Piloting a Safe Routes to School program that incentivizes parents to lead Bike Buses or Walking School Buses.
  • Making trial changes to test how emergency medical services respond to crashes, including enhancing data collection efforts and piloting new operational plans for crash response or trainings for EMS staff responding to crashes.

New Technology Pilot Programs

Pilot programs that demonstrate safety benefits of new technologies are eligible demonstration activities. Eligible technologies must be commercially available, not yet adopted in the community, and at a prototype or advanced technological readiness level.

Examples include the following:

  • Variable speed limits
  • Speed safety cameras installations
  • Retrofitting public transit with dash cameras or Intelligent Speed Assist
  • Adaptive signal timing
  • Signal preemption for emergency vehicles
  • Safety warnings for wrong-way driving alerts
  • Intelligent Transportation Systems
  • Vehicle-to-infrastructure technology, especially those that use the 5.905 – 5.925 GHz spectrum frequency
    • Eligible vehicle-to-infrastructure demonstrations use interoperable vehicle-to-everything (V2X) communications capabilities using 4G LTE cellular V2X (C-V2X) technology in the 5.905 – 5.925 GHz spectrum frequency band to enable safety applications for public fleet vehicles.

Demonstration Activity Requirements

Example Temporary Materials

Temporary materials include those that do not make permanent changes to roadways or infrastructure and can include things like paint, plastic delineator posts, water-filled plastic barriers, planters, traffic cones, raised line separators, and temporary speed humps/bumps.

These types of temporary materials can be used in a variety of ways to conduct activities like implementing road diets, creating curb extensions, shortening crosswalk distances, creating roundabouts, establishing bike lanes, and implementing other safety countermeasures that slow speeds and make the roads safer for multiple road user types.

Proceeding with Demonstration Activities After Grant Completion

To satisfy the requirements of the SS4A program, eligible demonstration activities must include data collection and analysis to measure the project’s success and impact on the development of a community’s Comprehensive Safety Action Plan. The SS4A program expects the grant recipient to determine the next steps for how to implement demonstration activities as a project and/or strategy.

Temporary measures that are assessed and determined to have minimal or negative safety benefits are expected to be removed.

Updating Action Plans with Demonstration Activities

If an applicant is doing a demonstration activity while working on their Action Plan, but the Action Plan is not a part of the grant, they are required to finalize the Action Plan to close out the grant.

Applicants are required to update Action Plans when receiving funding for demonstration activities and integrate those findings into the Action Plan’s list of projects or strategies and/or show how the findings inform another part of the Action Plan.

Data Requirements for Demonstration Activity Assessment

Data collection and evaluation will likely vary depending on the specifics of the demonstration activity, the size of the SS4A award, the length of the pilot period, and local capacity.

At a minimum, the SS4A program expects applicants to collect and analyze before-and-after crash data related to the safety problem being addressed.

Other suggestions include collecting quantitative data to measure changes to vehicle speeds, traffic volume, driver compliance rates in yielding to pedestrians, warnings/citations for safety violations, etc. Qualitative data collected via public meetings, interviews, surveys, public comments, and other sources to assess the impact of a safety demonstration activity are also encouraged.

Final Deliverables

The final deliverable expected for supplemental planning activities is a written product that connects to, and enhances, an Action Plan. This written product could be a standalone document that informs and complements the Action Plan or an informational section added into the Action Plan itself.

The final deliverable expected for demonstration activities is

  • An overview of the demonstration activities and 
  • A before-and-after study of the effectiveness of the demonstration activities and
  • An updated Action Plan that incorporates the information gathered from the demonstration activities into the Action Plan’s list of projects or strategies and/or informs another part of the Action Plan. 

Final products must be made publicly available.