Implementation Step 3: Establish Crash Reduction Goals
The AASHTO Strategic Highway Safety Plan established a national goal of saving 5,000 to 7,000 lives annually by the year 2003 to 2005. Some states have established statewide goals for the reduction of fatalities or crashes of a certain degree of severity. Establishing an explicit goal for crash reduction can place an agency "on the spot," but it usually provides an impetus to action and builds a support for funding programs for its achievement. Therefore, it is desirable to establish, within each emphasis area, one or more crash reduction targets.
These may be dictated by strategic-level planning for the agency, or it may be left to the stakeholders to determine. (The summary of the Wisconsin DOT Highway Safety Plan in Appendix A has more information.). For example, Pennsylvania adopted a goal of ten percent reduction in fatalities by 2002, while California established a goal of 40 percent reduction in fatalities and 15 percent reduction in injury crashes, as well as a 10 percent reduction in work zone crashes, in one year. At the municipal level, Toledo, Ohio, is cited by the U.S. Conference of Mayors as having an exemplary program. This included establishing specific crash reduction goals. (http://www.usmayors.org/uscm/uscm_projects_services/health/traffic/best_traffic_initiative_toledo.htm) When working within an emphasis area, it may be desirable to specify certain types of crashes, as well as the severity level, being targeted.
There are a few key considerations for establishing a quantitative goal. The stakeholders should achieve consensus on this issue. The goal should be challenging, but achievable. Its feasibility depends in part on available funding, the time frame in which the goal is to be achieved, the degree of complexity of the program, and the degree of controversy the program may experience. To a certain extent, the quantification of the goal will be an iterative process. If the effort is directed at a particular location, then this becomes a relatively straightforward action.