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Roadway Safety

There were 25,192 crashes in Hampton Roads in 2012, resulting in 15,034 injuries and 99 lives lost. Looking at these numbers another way, a crash occurred every 21 minutes throughout the region in 2012, with an injury occurring every 35 minutes and a fatality occurring about every three days.

Because of the impacts that 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 original Hampton Roads Regional Safety Study was released in four parts:  General Crash Data and Trends, Interstate and Intersection Crash Findings, Crash Analysis and Countermeasures, and Rural Safety.

HRTPO is currently in the process of updating the Hampton Roads Regional Safety Study.  This update is being produced in two parts: 

  • Part I – Crash Trends and Locations – Part I of the study introduces previous HRTPO safety planning efforts, reports the recent trends in roadway safety in Hampton Roads, details the characteristics of crashes in Hampton Roads, and specifies the number and rate of crashes for each mile of freeway and approximately 600 of the busiest intersections throughout the region.  This study was released in October 2013.
  • Part II – Crash Countermeasures – Part II of the study will build on the results of Part I by transitioning from recent trends to ways to improve roadway safety.  Sections that will be incorporated into Part II include Efforts to Improve Roadway Safety, General Crash Countermeasures, High Crash Location Countermeasures, and Next Steps.  Part II of the study is currently under development and will be released in spring 2014.

Roadway safety is also included in other HRTPO planning efforts.  As part of the Hampton Roads Congestion Management Process, HRTPO staff selects critical congested corridors – for which improvements are identified – based on many factors, including safety.  Roadway safety is also analyzed 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 Virginia 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, which are primarily funded through the Highway Safety Improvement Program (HSIP).  HSIP is a federal program that apportions millions of dollars annually to Virginia for various types of roadway safety improvement projects.  Projects eligible for HSIP funding are evaluated by VDOT using crash data and the results of Road Safety Audits. 

HRTPO staff also uses crash data to prioritize projects for inclusion in the Hampton Roads Long Range Transportation Plan and for Regional Surface Transportation Program (RSTP) funding.