When it comes to transportation safety improvements, price can often be a deterrent to getting projects approved. Although federal governments in both Canada and the United States have promised dramatic increases to infrastructure spending, states and municipalities continue to struggle to properly fund projects that would benefit their communities.
Fortunately, federal dollars aren’t the only option. A huge assortment of grants and funding programs exist to help municipalities finance their projects—you just need to know how and when to apply.
A new funding opportunity this year comes from the Governor’s Highway Safety Association (GHSA) and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). They’ve partnered to award one or more grants to support the development and implementation of state-based speed management pilot program(s), with the aim of reducing speed-related crashes. Up to $200,000 in funding will be awarded to selected organization(s) to conduct a six-month pilot program.
A persistent safety threat
Many people speed from time to time, but few consider the consequences of doing so. However, speeding has been a leading factor in more than a quarter of fatal crashes in the U.S. for the past 10 years. More than 9,000 people were killed in speed-related crashes in 2018.
Despite the clear impact of speeding on roadway safety, people continue to do it—and they’re not cagey about their habits. According to the 2018 AAA Safety Culture Index, 49% of motorists reported exceeding the posted speed limit by 15 mph on highways in the past month, while 40% reported exceeding it by 10 mph on residential streets. A 2017 survey from the NHTSA found that more than half of vehicles captured on limited access, arterial, and collector roads were exceeding the posted speed limit.
“We need to rethink how we address speeding,” said GHSA Executive Director Jonathan Adkins. “[The new funding program] will be taking different approaches like engineering, enforcement, and community engagement and breaking them out of their silos to more effectively target speeding and ultimately change the prevalent culture around this dangerous problem.”
How to apply
To be eligible for the grant, state agencies (e.g. a State Highway Safety Office or a State Department of Transportation) must propose an interdisciplinary, community-based program that combines proven and innovative speeding countermeasures from various sectors, including engineering, enforcement, communications, advocacy, and policy.
Pilot program proposals can be submitted online and should include the following:
- A description of the proposed pilot site and why it was selected
- The selection of a proposed control site that shares similar characteristics to the proposed pilot site but that will not have any countermeasures implemented
- A commitment to collect speed and awareness data at both sites before and during the proposed pilot program
- A detailed description, rationale, and anticipated impact for proposed speed management countermeasures
- A detailed timeline and budget
- Letters of support from key state and local stakeholders and partners that agree to support the proposed pilot project.
Applications must be received by 11:59 p.m. EST on March 1, 2020.
Resources for starting your speed management program
Not sure where to start? There are plenty of online resources—including this website—that can help you with your application. Here are a few “insider” recommendations.
- The Institute of Transportation Engineers (ITE) is an excellent resource for speed management and safety. Check out their page on Creating a Speed Management Program, then read through some of their articles and case studies for more inspiration. The website also has some great fact sheets on a number of traffic calming measures.
- The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) has a Speed Management Action Template designed to aid state and local agencies in identifying, implementing, and evaluating speed management initiatives.
- The NHTSA has a useful and easy-to-use querying and reporting tool that allows you to generate highly specific reports on motor vehicle crashes in your area. Set the crash type to “Involving speeding” to access accurate, recent statistics.
- One of the fastest and longest-lasting ways to reduce speeding is radar speed signs. Check out our MUTCD- compliant SpeedCheck radar speed sign, and see how the city of Chandler, AZ used the signs to slow down drivers and reduce traffic fatalities by a full 79%.
More funding opportunities
This is just one of the many grants available to state and local agencies looking to fund transportation safety projects. Want more? Check out our Traffic Safety Grants and Funding page to learn about other funding opportunities and get some tips for getting your application to the top of the pile.