What is the Strategic Highway Safety Plan?
The Strategic Highway Safety Plan (SHSP) is one of the requirements and main component of the Highway Safety Improvement Program (HSIP) of the Federal Highway Administration (FWHA). Its objective is to identify and analyze the problems and opportunities in highway safety in order to reduce fatalities and serious injuries caused by traffic crashes on public roads in the United States and its territories. This is defined in Federal Regulation Code CFR 23 148.
The SHSP is a five (5) year plan, which must be based on data; and its development and implementation must be through a collaborative and participatory multisectoral process, with emphasis on the 4Es of highway safety (Education, Enforcement, Engineering, and Emergency). In addition, this can be updated according to the data show the need in the term of validity, and this is known as "live plan". Also, must meet local needs, in this case, Puerto Rico and integrate with other transportation plans.
How has the development of SHSP been in Puerto Rico?
In Puerto Rico, the first cycle of the SHSP had a validity period of one year and was submitted to the FHWA on April 18, 2013. This was an interim plan developed by a technical team between Traffic Safety Commission (TSC), the Highway Transportation Authority (HTA) and the Department of Transportation and Public Works (DTPW). This was the first step to align the efforts of a highway safety plan in Puerto Rico.
Then, SHSP 2014-2018 was developed in the month of July 2014 with the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU). The MOU was signed by the leading agencies in the highway safety of the country: DTPW, HTA, TSC, the Department of Health, and the Police of Puerto Rico. In addition, federal agencies FHWA, NHTSA and FMCSA signed the MOU as a sign of their support and commitment to Puerto Rico. The SHSP 2014-2018 promoted that initiatives to reduce traffic crashes were coordinated among the safety stakeholders, thus promoting the participatory and collaborative process. So much so that, in 2016, the union of the third sector was formally presented as an “ALIANZA”, which is composed of AARP, MAVI, Puerto Rican Planning Society, ITE and MAPFRE Foundation. This aims to promote public policy and design educational campaigns to improve mobility, accessibility and safety on the country's highways. On the other hand, the 2014-2018 SHSP was based on nine (9) areas of emphasis, while the interim SHSP defined only four (4), as shown in Figure 1.
The SHSP 2019-2023 is the step to ensure continuity to the work carried out for the last five years and to continue in compliance with the federal regulation mentioned above. This plan aims to be more agile, with a reduction in the emphasis areas, so that resources are maximized, and strategies and actions are worked on more focused and directed to achieve the established goals. The following figure shows a summary of the most important events during the development and implementation of the SHSP.
One of the key elements of SHSP is the collaboration of all sectors of the country. The SHSP is comprised of state and federal government entities, non-profit organizations, municipalities, academia, and the private sector. Since the beginning of SHSP development, entities representing the four pillars of the highway safety (4Es) have made available their ideas, knowledge and experiences in order to achieve a dramatic reduction in fatalities and serious injuries due to traffic crashes in Puerto Rico. The collaboration of these entities allows to share varied thoughts and visions in the formulation of strategies and actions in such a way as to achieve the established goals in the best possible way. Entities, agencies and organizations, among others, that are part of the SHSP can be found in the "delegates" section.