Tribal Transportation Program Safety Funds (TTPSF)

Each year under MAP-21, $9 million from TTP funds is set aside to address safety issues in Native America. Funds are available to federally recognized Indian tribes through a competitive, discretionary program. Awarded annually, projects are chosen whose outcomes will address the prevention and reduction of death or serious injuries in transportation related crashes. We recognize that traffic fatalities and injuries severely impact the quality of life in Indian country. Statistics are consistently higher than the rest of the nation as a whole; we advocate the development of Strategic Transportation Safety Plans as a means for tribes to determine how transportation safety needs will be addressed in tribal communities.

We have established funding goals in four categories under TTPSF: Safety Planning (40%); Engineering Improvements (30%); Enforcement/EMS (20%); and Education (10%).

Tribal Transportation Safety Planning Resources

Tribal Transportation Safety Plans are a tool used to identify and plan to address transportation risk factors that have a potential of leading to serious injury or death. Safety Plans also organize the efforts of a variety of entities to more effectively reduce risk. Safety Plans can cover multiple transportation modes (roads, maritime, trails, air travel, and others). Safety plans may lead to implementation of a project or program, renewed efforts in an existing program, or further study of a roadway section (using an engineering study or Road Safety Audit).

A Tribal Safety Plan should not be developed with a focus on any one funding source. Instead, a Tribal Safety Plan should demonstrate the safety concerns in a community and the strategies that will be explored to implement the plan. To the greatest extent possible the concerns demonstrated by a safety plan should be selected based on incident history (data). Data allows funding entities to understand the needs and may even compel the funding of the community's needs. Safety Plans can provide a forum for utilizing data sets that are not otherwise considered by funding agencies such as public testimony when formal crash data does not exist.

National Tribal Safety Management Plans

For Native Americans and others traveling on roads and other transportation facilities crossing tribal lands, the risks associated with this routine activity are far higher than any other segment of America. Thus, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA), the Indian Health Service (IHS), tribes and states have made efforts to improve transportation safety on tribal lands and in native communities and align their efforts with national safety initiatives and strategies. These key stakeholders have significant resources and expertise that can reduce crashes with lifesaving results.

Under the auspices of FHWA's Office of Federal Lands Highway, a Safety Management System (SMS) Steering Committee was assembled to marshal stakeholders. A Strategic Highway Safety Plan (SHSP) was developed with an accompanying Implementation Plan. The overarching goal of the Implementation Plan is for tribal governments to develop Tribal Highway Safety Improvement Programs (HSIP). The plan includes strategies that tribes can tailor to improve safety in their communities and develop in-house, self-sustaining expertise. Because tribal transportation safety programs are still in their beginning stages around the country, this Implementation Plan is intended to: aid tribal governments in collaborating with federal agencies and state departments of transportation (DOTs); pursue training to increase the capacity and expertise of tribal governments in the roadway safety arena; and stimulate tribal innovation through peer-to peer and best practice exchanges to save lives in Indian Country. The strategies should be part of a comprehensive highway safety program, but can stand alone as effective safety strategies if implemented incrementally while program development occurs.

Additional Resources

Road Safety Audits

A Road Safety Audit is a formal evaluation of a roadway section by an independent, multi-disciplinary team to identify specific recommendations for a section of roadway. An RSA team identifies risks using many different information sources such as crash data, maintenance logs, interviews of roadway authorities, public testimony, and multiple field observations then makes recommendations. Many Tribal Governments have utilized RSA to assist them in determining roadway deficiencies, maintenance issues and to help in the planning for future work and needs. RSA have also been effectively used to demonstrate safety needs to funding agencies.

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