Environmental Review Toolkit
NEPA and Project Development

Integrating Road Safety into NEPA Analysis:
A Primer for Safety and Environmental Professionals


Photo of a waterfront roadway in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida

This primer presents strategies to capitalize on the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) process as an effective tool for maximizing the safety benefits of transportation projects. It describes how to take advantage of the latest safety research and analysis techniques at every stage of the NEPA process, and how to link these to safety planning. It is one of a series of primers covering integration of different elements of safety into the transportation planning process.

The NEPA process provides a unique opportunity to apply the latest research and analytical techniques for project-level safety analysis. These techniques are becoming more sophisticated as the field of transportation safety advances. Crash data collection techniques have improved, new tools and protocols for analyzing crash data are available, and research on the effectiveness of safety improvement strategies has expanded. Furthermore, all states have a multidisciplinary transportation safety planning process in place.

However, not every stage of transportation project development fully reflects these advancements. This raises the question, has the NEPA process reached its potential value for shaping project-level decision-making? Few NEPA documents contain scientific safety analysis or reference research demonstrating that planned improvements will have a safety benefit. This document is intended to improve the consideration of safety issues in the NEPA process and documents.

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