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Network Screening on Low-Volume Roads: Empirical Validation of New Proposed Methodology

Project #: 4W9679
Start Date: 08/01/2022
End Date: 05/31/2024
Status: Current

Validating a network screening method that requires minimal data collection and technical skill will increase the ability of local agencies operating on a budget to identify candidate locations for safety improvements. This will, in turn, increase the safety of rural road users and reduce the energy and money required to address traffic crashes and high-risk locations.


Maintaining safety on the roadway system has become a top priority for most highway agencies in recent year because traffic crashes and associated casualties remain at alarming levels in the United States. However, tighter budgets require highway agencies to identify locations that are associated with higher crash risks (and often higher crash reductions) for optimum use of their limited resources. To this end, highway agencies systemically screen the network to identify sites that are expected to yield greater safety benefits, thus deserving more consideration for Highway Safety Improvement Program (HSIP) funds.


A recent project sponsored by the Montana Department of Transportation (MDT) and the Small Urban, Rural, and Tribal Center on Mobility (SURTCOM) developed a methodology for network screening that requires a minimal amount of geometric, traffic, and crash data. The method can be implemented by local agencies such as counties, reservations, and townships as it does not require extensive technical expertise. This method was primarily developed using the safety performance functions (SPFs) and crash modification factor (CMFs) contained in the Highway Safety Manual (HSM). Given the scope of the previous project, no validation was conducted to assess the robustness of the proposed method using field data. This validation is deemed very important to better understand the strengths and limitations of the proposed methodology especially since the HSM is a national document and does not necessarily represent the safety trends in any specific region within the country.


The objective of this research project is to validate the newly proposed low-volume roads network screening methodology using extensive field data to assess the effectiveness of the proposed method and its suitability for implementation in Montana and the northwest region.


  • Ahmed Al Kaisy
    Ahmed Al Kaisy