There were 24,115 crashes in Hampton Roads in 2011, resulting in 14,038 injuries and 136 fatalities. Looking at these numbers another way, a crash occurred every 22 minutes throughout the region in 2011, with an injury occurring every 37 minutes and a fatality occurring about every three days.
Because of the impacts roadway safety has on both the transportation system and the quality of life in Hampton Roads, HRTPO incorporates roadway safety into the transportation planning process. This planning began in earnest in 2000, when HRTPO initiated the Hampton Roads Regional Safety Study. The Hampton Roads Regional Safety Study was broken into four parts:
- General Crash Data and Trends - This document analyzed trends in crashes, injuries, and fatalities on a regional and jurisdictional level. Comparisons were also made with statewide and national data.
HRTPO staff updates the General Crash Data and Trends report every two years, with the most recent version being released in 2011.
- Interstate and Intersection Crash Findings - This document analyzed the locations of crashes throughout the region. The number and rate of crashes, injuries, and fatalities were compiled and analyzed to determine high crash locations throughout the region.
- Crash Analysis and Countermeasures - This document analyzed each high crash location in detail and examined countermeasures and potential solutions to remedy safety related problems.
- Rural Safety - Since urban and rural areas have divergent safety issues, HRTPO released the Hampton Roads Rural Safety Study. This document examined safety in four jurisdictions - Franklin, Gloucester County, Southampton County, and Surry County - that are outside of the Hampton Roads Metropolitan Planning Area.
Roadway safety is also included in other HRTPO planning efforts. As part of the Hampton Roads Congestion Management Process, congested corridors throughout the region are ranked based on many factors, including safety. Roadway safety is considered in many of the corridor and subarea studies undertaken by HRTPO. In addition, HRTPO staff assists VDOT and Hampton Roads localities with their roadway safety efforts, including the Strategic Highway Safety Plan and analyzing high crash locations through Road Safety Audits.
These regional and statewide planning efforts aid in the implementation of safety improvement projects. The primary mechanism for funding roadway safety projects is the Highway Safety Improvement Program (HSIP), which is a federal program that apportions $30-$35 million annually to Virginia for roadway safety improvement projects. Projects eligible for HSIP funding are evaluated by VDOT using crash data and the results of Road Safety Audits. In addition, crash data collected by VDOT and analyzed by HRTPO staff is used to evaluate potential projects for Regional Surface Transportation Program (RSTP) funding and candidate projects for the Hampton Roads Long Range Transportation Plan.