Tap into Unused Transportation Funding with the Highway Safety Improvement Program (HSIP)

June 14, 2022

Securing funding for transportation projects is not easy. The process is arduous and competitive for counties and municipalities and there are always more infrastructure needs than funds available. However, one funding program, the Highway Safety Improvement Program (HSIP), is historically underutilized, leaving available money for public agencies to fund their infrastructure projects.

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What is the HSIP?

The HSIP is a federal-aid program established to fund projects that will result in a significant reduction in traffic fatalities on public roads. The HSIP requires a data-driven, strategic approach to improving safety on highways and public roads with a focus on performance.

Who is eligible for the HSIP?

Any public road owner is eligible to apply for HSIP funds, including owners of non-State-owned public roads and roads on tribal lands.

What projects are eligible for HSIP funds?

Eligible projects must present data related to the roadway’s crash experience, crash potential, crash rates, or some other safety-related data and how a reduction in these statistics could be achieved as a result of the project. Projects should:

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  • Address a priority in the state’s Strategic Highway Safety Plan (SHSP).
  • Be identified through a data-driven process.
  • Target an identified safety problem.
  • Contribute to a reduction in fatalities and serious injuries.

Because there may be variations in each state’s SHSP, there are likely be differing priorities from state to state. In New York, some of the targeted priorities identified by the NYSDOT include:

  • Pedestrian improvements at uncontrolled crosswalks or signalized intersections including separation improvements such as medians, pedestrian crossings, and roundabouts.
  • Pedestrian hybrid beacons.
  • Installation of Centerline Rumble Strips (CLRS).
  • Pedestrian countdown timers.
  • Secondary Highway Audible Roadway Delineators (SHARDS) and protected bike lanes.
  • Installation of vehicle-to-infrastructure communication equipment.
  • Other projects that can show data-driven safety enhancements.

The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA), signed in November 2021, expanded the HSIP to also include traffic calming measures to reduce vehicle speeds, protected bikeways and intersections, and bicycle traffic signals.

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New funding opportunities on the way

The recently passed IIJA also included the conception of a new USDOT $6 billion program entitled “Safe Streets and Roads for All”, which will be administered through a competitive grant that will fund regional and local comprehensive safety action plans commonly referred to as a “Vision Zero or Towards Zero Deaths plan.” This funding will help create action plans, develop activities for projects and strategies, and implement projects and programs in the plan. The USDOT is currently working on the requirements and application process for this grant program.

How do I apply?

Each state Department of Transportation (DOT) may have their own process, but typically these projects will need to be added to the regional or state Transportation Improvement Program (TIP) through your metropolitan planning organization (MPO).

If you would like assistance, contact Fisher Associates to help review your project goals and strategize the approach to your funding request. Contact Tim Faulkner at tfaulkner@fisherassoc.com or Emily Smith at
esmith@fisherassoc.com to help you identify eligible projects and guide you through the funding process.

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Emily Smith

Emily Smith, P.E.
Vice President, Director of Transportation
585.334.1310 ext.255

Contact Emily

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