The National Center for Rural Road Safety (Safety Center) opened in December 2014. Funded by the Federal Highway Administration, this Center of Excellence is focused on enhancing safety on rural roadways by supporting local, state and tribal road owners and their stakeholders.


Graphic with Safety Center Vision: The National Center for Rural Road Safety is a nationally recognized center that empowers rural road owners with customized and innovative road safety practices to save lives.


The National Center for Rural Road Safety provides coordinated, multidisciplinary, scalable, and accessible safety resources in order to empower rural road users to accelerate road safety improvements and save lives.

Our Approach to Enhancing Safety

The Center is unique in that the approach is holistic and multidisciplinary involving all the 4Es of safety :

Circular green and blue graphic showing Safety Center topics of Driver, roadway, vehicle,safety culture, engineering, enforcement, education and EMS. Images accompany each topic driver on cell, curved road, semi tractor trailer, cultural roles, ambulance, training, seatbelt enforcement and construction

Another aspect of our holistic strategy is that we look at the many factors that affect safety and when they occur. This follows an approach known as Haddon’s matrix which focuses on four main factors:

View the Safety Center Postcard

The Safety Center’s approach targets and tailors assistance to the people who need it. It is based on the “safe systems” perspective, which integrates best practices from traditional traffic safety models and emphasizes the importance of transforming the national road safety culture (RSC).
Graphic depicting pertinent factors with relation to reduction of fatalities in rural transportation. Culture, Interventions for safer people, vehicles, speeds and roads. Safety system principles; human factors, shared responsibility, forgiving systems and human frailty.
This cultural transformation is necessary to achieve sustainable traffic safety improvements by reducing risk behaviors and increasing acceptance of traffic safety initiatives. In other words, improvements have a widespread and long-term impact when safety is part of the culture – when everyone in the community values safe driving practices and expects it of themselves and others.

The Safety Center will also use the Community Readiness Model, to develop a traffic safety culture for organizations that requires the following:

Graphic depicting the model of safety culture within institutions. Components are safety champions, DOT Director/City Manager, Training and Community Readiness Model/Safety Culture

Safety Center’s Purpose and Strategies

The purpose of the center is to help rural road stakeholders implement safety strategies based on the holistic approach described above. Specific objectives include:

The Safety Center’s Strategic Plan will carry out these objectives in three phases.

Graphic with layers depicting the three strategic stages of the Rural Road Safety Center. #1 Build Center Foundation, #2 Enhance Center, #3 Foster "Center of Centers."

In the short-term, Phase 1 (our current phase) is building the center’s foundation. During this phase, we plan to:

In the medium-term, Phase 2 is to enhance the center. Our tasks will include:

In the long-term, Phase 3 is to establish ourselves as a “Center of Centers,” in other words to make the Center the national focal point and centralized source for the most up-to-date research and information on rural road safety. Our planned tasks include: