Eric Wood is our featured associate this month. [...]
There are several steps to the RSA process. Let’s get started.
Step 1: The project is identified during the design stage or post-construction. Post construction sites will typically be high-crash, high-profile sites with changed traffic characteristics.
Step 2: Select the RSA team. It must be independent, experienced and multi-disciplinary. Sain fits the “independent” component perfectly
Step 3: Conduct a start-up meeting to identify everyone’s role, communicate information about the process and discuss constraints or limitations.
Step 4: Perform a field review. This is best done with the entire team in one vehicle so details and observations can be discussed on site. Look for pedestrian/cyclist conflicts, visual clutter, sight distance obstructions, roadside hazards and driveway issues, in particular. We observe in sun, rain, daylight and dark conditions when possible. Walk the site and take measurements and pictures.
Step 5: Conduct an RSA analysis once you get back from the site. This involves prioritizing the safety concerns, estimating costs and mitigating those safety concerns for the short term and long term. Short term considerations might ask are there enough warning signs, are they too far apart, is there vegetation in the way? Long term suggestions might be flattening a horizontal curve or modifying a roadway’s alignment.
Step 6: Present your findings with a formal report summarizing the project, documenting site visits and results, identifying and prioritizing safety concerns and suggesting improvements that need to be made.
Step 7: Prepare for the formal response from the project owner. This involves a point by point response to each suggestion, the action that will be taken or reason no action will be taken.
Step 8: Incorporate findings into the project depending on the policy, manpower and/or funding.
As engineers, it should always be our priority to plan and design for safety first. RSAs are an important tool for proactively reducing crash frequency and severity on transportation facilities.