Transforming the Safety Culture of State Departments of Transportation to Achieve Toward Zero Deaths Vision

Overview
The Center for Health and Safety Culture (CHSC) at the Western Transportation Institute is offering an opportunity to join a select cohort of state departments of transportation in a multi-year project to grow a strong and innovative organizational safety culture which encourages new resources and novel strategies to significantly reduce fatal and serious injury crashes. A cohort approach distributes costs and leverages shared learning so the project is more cost-effective for participating agencies.
Culture written on the road
A strong safety culture has been shown to be important for the success of organizations responsible for public safety. For example, a strong safety culture amongst public health organizations is a significant determinant of patient satisfaction with services provided by those organizations and patient safety resulting from those services. A similar relationship is expected for state agencies (e.g., DOT, DPS) responsible for the safety of road users. Indeed, a strong safety culture within traffic safety agencies is identified as a key factor for the success of the National Toward Zero Deaths (TZD) strategy: “From a professional or organizational perspective, changing the safety culture would ensure safety impacts are considered during decision making that affects any portion of the roadway transportation network and its operation.”1 The creation of a strong safety culture within state transportation agencies is necessary to motivate the resources and planning needed to support the full range of innovative strategies that can sustain the TZD vision. However, there are currently no existing “tools” applicable to state transportation agencies to help them transform their safety cultures to align with the TZD vision.
 
Goal
The goal of this project is to grow a strong safety culture among a cohort of state transportation agencies by providing tools and guidance to assess and transform the agency’s safety culture to support their safety plans and achieve their Toward Zero Deaths (TZD) vision. 
 
Qualifications
CHSC has unique expertise in this domain to ensure success. CHSC has participated in the recent domestic scan to identify key success factors for transforming safety culture in transportation organizations2 and is leading an ongoing research project to develop guidance for the transformation of the national traffic safety culture.3 In addition, the CHSC faculty has expertise in transforming organizational culture, developing transformational leaders, and managing change in organizational settings.
 
Next Steps
If you are interested in learning more or joining the cohort, please contact: Nicholas Ward (Director, Center for Health and Safety Culture) at nward@montana.edu or 406-994-5942. Each cohort will be limited to four agencies. Potential funding sources include State Planning and Research (SP&R) funds, possibly NHTSA 402 funding (administered through the State Highway Safety Offices), or state funds. Another potential option is NHTSA’s Road to Zero program.
 
 
1) http://www.towardzerodeaths.org/wp-content/uploads/TZD_Strategy_12_1_2014.pdf (page 4)
2 http://www.domesticscan.org/14-03-successful-approaches-for-the-development-of-an-organization-wide-safety-culture-intransportation-agencies
3 http://apps.trb.org/cmsfeed/TRBNetProjectDisplay.asp?ProjectID=3662
 
Back To Top