History of the Safety Center
This page answers some of the most frequently asked questions about the Safety Center including where we came from and where we are going, what our philosophy is, and who we serve.
Where We Came From and Where We are Going
The National Center for Rural Road Safety (Safety Center) was created to identify the most effective current and emerging road safety improvements and deploy them on rural roads. In the most recent federal transportation re-authorization bill (MAP-21, 2012), Congress explicitly created a next-generation Center that would integrate and advance the work of the previous rural center of excellence and the surface transportation center of excellence. Funded by the U.S. Federal Highway Administration, our new Safety Center embodies the federal transportation goal for a center focused solely and specifically on enhancing safety on rural roads while supporting surface transportation in general.
Our philosophy is to empower as many state, local, and tribal agencies as possible with the most effective safety tools and strategies that are currently available. Building on a growing body of multi-disciplinary research, best practices and successful deployments in rural environments, the Safety Center is poised to help agencies with their immediate rural road safety challenges. Our goal is to deliver trainings that accelerate change and make it possible for agency managers, planners, operations staff and maintenance crews to do their jobs better the very next day.
The Safety Center will advance the boundaries of a traditional focused safety training center by:
- Supporting and collaborating with existing safety organizations and initiatives
- Embracing multi-disciplinary and holistic approaches, such as the 4E’s of safety:
- Emergency Response
- Focusing on safety from the road user perspective, including the use of Haddon’s model for injury prevention.
- Applying innovative training methods that reach more users at every level of an agency.
- Accelerating the transfer of knowledge from the innovator to the trainer to the implementer.
As the only federally sanctioned rural center, we are in a unique position to access and leverage FHWA expertise and training resources. Representatives of multiple FHWA offices will serve on our newly created technical panel to guide training initiatives. To ensure that our safety tools and trainings are comprehensive and holistic, our stakeholder panel also includes representatives from law enforcement and emergency medical services. For more information visit our organization page.
Who we Serve
The Safety Center’s main focus is rural and local and the target audience is local, tribal, and state road owners and their stakeholders. We seek to engage and enable as many transportation staff members as possible to make immediate safety improvements on their roads or to enhance their existing efforts and initiatives.
To reach such a large and widespread audience, we will work closely with synergistic organizations, especially LTAPs and TTAPs across the country. These organizations provide an established, successful model for conducting transportation training at the local level. They will play a key role in our Stakeholder Panel, and we believe we can support and add value to their programs by providing them with enhanced training tools, networks of experts, and targeted content on high priority safety issues. At the same time, they can help us expand the reach of our programs to nearly every corner of the country.