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How SS4A Impacts Rural Road Safety Planning

how SS4A impacts rural road safety planning safe streets road

According to USDOT’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics, 68% of lane miles in the US are located in rural areas and 43% of highway fatalities in the US are on rural roads. In addition to vehicle speed, several factors contribute to rural road accidents, including road geometry, environmental conditions, driver behavior, and vehicle characteristics. Rural roads are often narrow, winding, and poorly lit, with limited opportunities for passing or overtaking. Environmental conditions such as snow, ice, rain, or fog can make driving on rural roads even more hazardous.

For most rural communities, funding can be difficult to secure for projects that address road and highway safety issues. However, with the passage of 2021’s Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA), the Safe Streets and Roads for All (SS4A) discretionary grant program appropriates $5 billion over five years (2022-2026) to fund regional, local, and Tribal initiatives that promote the prevention of death and serious injuries.

Since the IIJA was passed, SRF’s Traffic & Technology and Funding & Grants teams have been partnering with rural communities throughout the Upper Midwest to apply for SS4A grant funding and develop SS4A Action Plans. This once-in-a-generation funding opportunity is not only intended to address safety by significantly reducing or eliminating roadway fatalities and serious injuries. Rural communities may also realize the following additional benefits as a result:

  • Improved connectivity
  • Economic growth
  • Expanded public transportation
  • Boosted local business
  • Better access to markets

How can SRF help?

SRF’s team of experts will help your community identify issues and opportunities for improvements, develop action plans, and secure funding to advance those projects. Our success lies in telling your community’s unique story by explaining the local, regional, and national benefits of your project, exploring innovative construction or delivery methods, and assisting with facilitating partnerships. Coupled with our industry-leading benefit-cost analysis experts, our approach has resulted in a success rate that exceeds industry standards. Contact Renae Kuehl PE, PTOE for more information.

Renae has 23 years of experience in traffic engineering covering a wide range of traffic engineering areas. Her experience provides a well-rounded understanding of traffic operations, impacts, and safety. Renae has been intensely involved in the technical analysis for many safety related studies, including road safety plans, road safety audits, safe routes to school studies and Strategic Highway Safety Plans. She has helped plan and execute numerous safety workshops with counties and safety stakeholders, and has a strong understanding of traffic safety issues.

Renae has recently worked with multiple agencies to assist with developing their Safety Action Plans and writing SS4A Safety Action Plan and implementation grant applications. Through this process she has gained detailed knowledge of the SS4A program and requirements.