Open stretch of road from the sidewalk.

The Federal Highway Administration recently issued millions in tribal roadway safety grants while also launching two new efforts to help states, cities, and local governments improve road safety as well. 

[Above image by the FHWA

First, FHWA issued 70 tribes some $21 million to support 93 projects that improve road safety on tribal lands. That funding comes from the agency’s Tribal Transportation Program Safety Fund and the list of grant recipients in this round of grants includes 16 tribes that have not previously participated in the program. 

FHWA noted in a statement that this tribal grant funding supports a range of roadway projects, including the development of safety plans, data analysis activities, pedestrian infrastructure improvements, roadway departure countermeasures, intersection safety, visibility, and “traffic calming” efforts. 

To broaden its roadway safety support efforts, FHWA posted a new Request for Information or RFI to gather feedback from states, cities, and local governments on ways to improve upon “Complete Streets” programs, while also issuing a new waiver ensuring that financial barriers do not prevent states and Metropolitan Planning Organizations or MPOs from engaging in “Complete Streets” efforts. 

FHWA’s RFI – called the “Improving Road Safety for All Users on Federal-Aid Projects” – seeks public comments from state, regional, and local agencies on changes to design standards or other regulations to help develop more “Complete Streets” and “Complete Networks” across the country. Comments are due by March 20. 

FHWA noted that a “Complete Street” is a roadway planned and designed to consider the safe, convenient access and mobility of roadway users of all ages and abilities. This includes pedestrians, bicyclists, public transportation riders, and motorists; it includes children, the elderly, and persons with disabilities, the agency said. 

Meanwhile, FHWA’s “Complete Streets” funding waiver will allow states and MPOs to use federal funding for 100 percent of the expenses associated with certain planning and research activities. 

“Safety is foundational to our work and these efforts are two more critical tools to improve safety for all road users,” said FHWA Administrator Shailen Bhatt in a statement.  

“These resources recognize that safety is a shared responsibility and require input and action from our stakeholders and state partners as we collectively work to build a safe transportation system for everyone,” he explained. “We need multiple layers of protection in place to prevent roadway crashes and minimize the harm caused when they occur.”