Appendix A:
SHSP Update Process

Introduction

The 2014 update to the North Carolina Strategic Highway Safety Plan was accomplished through an ongoing, iterative process. It involved consultation with North Carolina’s diverse safety stakeholders and a thorough review of existing plans and data. The following sections provide a summary of that process.

Data Review and Analysis

The first phase of the Plan update required a cooperative and data-driven process to identify key areas for consideration, using the 14 emphasis areas of the published 2006 version of the Plan as a starting point. Ten years of statewide data were analyzed to identify the crash scenarios and factors contributing to fatalities and serious injuries on all of North Carolina’s public roads. Additionally, maps summarizing the data assisted in identifying regions or locations where specific crash types occurred more commonly.

Several key reports and partner plans were reviewed and evaluated for the purpose of the SHSP update. Namely, these plans were assessed to identify related goals and objectives, potential emphasis areas for consideration, and actions or strategies underway or proposed that relate to the SHSP. Other State transportation and safety plans reviewed included:

  • 2014 Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) Commercial Vehicle Safety Plan
  • 2014 State Enforcement Plan
  • 2012-2016 Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) Strategic Plan
  • North Carolina Department of Transportation Current State Transportation Improvement Program, October 2014
  • North Carolina Governor’s Highway Safety Program FY2014 Highway Safety Plan
  • North Carolina State Highway Patrol Strategic Plan 2011-2013
  • North Carolina Strategic Highway Safety Plan 2006
  • North Carolina Traffic Records Assessment 2012
  • North Carolina Traffic Safety Information Systems Strategic Plan 2013
  • WalkBike NC Plan 2013

Based on the detailed data analysis and partner plan review, 16 potential new or updated emphasis areas were identified for further consideration.

Stakeholder Engagement

North Carolina’s diverse safety stakeholders—representing State, regional, local, and tribal agencies, as well as other public and private organizations—were convened at several key milestones during the update process. The first occurred on March 20, 2014, when 33 stakeholders representing the 4Es of highway safety and a variety of agencies and organizations gathered for an interactive workshop. Its purpose was to refine the mission, vision, and goals of the updated Plan and to select its key safety emphasis areas.

The all-day meeting included a complete review of the previously-collected data and in-depth discussions on partner perspectives and information sharing about needs and related programs. The first key outcome of the workshop was an updated vision, mission, and goal. Workshop participants were introduced to the 2006 SHSP—and a complete review of the vision, mission, and goal—as well as an overview of changing trends and outcomes associated with the 2006 Plan. After a facilitated group discussion, the vision, mission, and goal were updated for the 2014 Plan (see page 5 of this report).

The next key outcome of the March workshop was the identification of emphasis areas for the updated Plan. The 2006 Plan included 14 emphasis areas, 8 of which were carried forward for consideration, 3 were recast, and 3 were omitted based on relevance. An additional 4 new emphasis areas were proposed for consideration so that 16 emphasis areas in total were presented to the stakeholders. Workshop participants also had the opportunity to suggest potential revisions or additional emphasis areas. Detailed descriptions, supporting data, and related activities across the State for each emphasis area were presented, and partners participated in the facilitated discussion sharing relevant professional expertise and feedback. The relative impact of each proposed emphasis area on fatalities and serious injuries was presented. After the discussion, workshop attendees voted on the emphasis areas, with nine being selected for inclusion in the 2014 Plan. Those nine emphasis areas represent over 95 percent of the fatalities that occurred on North Carolina’s roadways in 2013.

The final key outcome of the day was the formation of multi-disciplinary working groups for each of the nine emphasis areas, composed of workshop participants and their delegates. The process for these Emphasis Area Working Groups is discussed in more detail in the next section.

Emphasis Area Working Groups

As noted previously, the formation of Emphasis Area Working Groups (EAWGs) was essential to the update of the 2014 Plan. Because these groups were initially established at the first workshop, they were primarily composed of workshop participants or their designees. However, several of the groups were expanded to individuals representing additional interests and subject-matter expertise. In total, 60 individuals from 21 different agencies were involved in the development of the Plan. A complete list of partners can be found on pages v-vi of this report, and individual EAWG members are identified in Appendices B-J.

Membership in the EAWGs varied widely across the nine groups. Five individuals acted as facilitators for the nine groups, and the total number of members varied by group. The subject matter composition also varied by group, in part due to the nature of the strategies and the expertise and knowledge required by the participants. Some emphasis areas required more technical engineering expertise, while others were more rooted in policy and legislative action.

Background material (such as the findings of the partner plan reviews) and data summaries for each emphasis area were provided to the EAWG participants. In-person meetings were held in April, May, and June 2014. The members developed goals, objectives, strategies and associated actions, and performance measures for the emphasis area. The goals and objectives outlined for the selected emphasis areas were developed to address the changing landscape of highway safety in North Carolina and are directly tied to measurable data points to track the immediate and long-term successes of the Plan.

The work that took place at these meetings resulted in the development of draft Emphasis Area Action Plans, which underwent an iterative process with opportunities to review and provide feedback. While each group followed the same general process, individual EAWGs were allowed flexibility based on the emphasis area and the membership composition.

Draft Plan Update

The Emphasis Area Action Plans established by the EAWGs became the foundation for the development of the 2014 Plan update. A Plan was drafted that incorporated the findings of the data analysis and partner plan reviews, the feedback from the workshop participants, and the strategies and actions in the Emphasis Area Action Plans. Once the draft Plan was developed, several review cycles took place throughout the summer of 2014. EAWGs and stakeholders were provided the opportunity to provide comments on the technical information, and NCDOT provided essential ongoing direction, including thorough reviews and insightful comments. In some cases, the EAWGs reconvened to discuss and incorporate the comments of other stakeholders.

Stakeholder Reengagement

After the initial review period and subsequent updates to the draft Plan, the EAWGs and additional stakeholders were reconvened on August 14, 2014 for a second interactive workshop. This event included a thorough review of the Plan update process to-date and the presentation and discussion of the nine Emphasis Area Action Plans. A representative from each EAWG was asked to present a summary of their action plan.

Beyond the update, the primary focus of the workshop was to move toward implementation. The Emphasis Area Action Plans developed by the EAWGs were once again essential to laying the groundwork for these focused discussions. Workshop participants worked together to outline the importance of SHSP leadership and determined the roles of agencies and individuals in future and ongoing implementation of the Plan. Several existing groups were identified to continue the efforts of the working groups.

After the workshop, all SHSP stakeholders were once again afforded the opportunity to review the draft Plan and provide final comments. Feedback collected at this time was considered and integrated into the draft update, resulting in a revised draft Plan.

ECHS Engagement

The final step of the 2014 Plan update was to engage the ECHS collectively. (Several members of the ECHS were active participants in the workshops and EAWGs.) The revised draft Plan with a summary of the update process was provided to the ECHS for its review and comment. On October 10, 2014, the ECHS convened to review the Plan. Several comments and suggestions were offered at the meeting and in the weeks that followed, and these were integrated into the final update of the Plan.

In addition to this general oversight, the ECHS is responsible for identifying liaisons with implementers who can report on the implementation progress. An ongoing and annual evaluation schedule will assist the State in identifying areas requiring greater emphasis or areas for adjustments as new technologies or strategies become more available, milestones are achieved, or new risks emerge. The overall Plan will then be reviewed and updated as determined by the ECHS.