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HSIP Formal Safety Application
Pavement marking maintenance

The Highway Safety Improvement Program (HSIP) formal safety application process is for higher-cost, more complex safety improvements that require a more detailed review. This program is meant to address locations with a history of fatal or injury crashes where low-cost safety improvements have failed to solve the problem.  The program gives funding priority to locations with state or regional safety priority or a completed local road safety plan.

Formal Safety Application Process Changes

To get ready for these changes, we encourage project sponsors to review the Scoring Matrix table below and program guidelines and contact your local ODOT safety staff to discuss how these changes could impact your project.

Other changes are coming too. Click here for more information on how ODOT’s overall Highway Safety Program is changing, as well as new funding opportunities focused on systemic safety.


The purpose of the program is to reduce traffic deaths and serious injuries on all public roads.


Funding requests typically range from $500,000 to $5 million. Funding is available for all stages of development and typically requires a minimum 10% local match. Safety improvements, such as upgrading signs, signals, pavement markings and guardrail are eligible for 100% funding. Project sponsors may also be eligible for a reduced local match if the location falls within an area of economic distress.


Funding is awarded based on a demonstrated need and long-term crash trends. A minimum of 3 crashes per year and 30% injury crashes are required to apply.  All applications should include information that clearly links the crash patterns with the suggested safety improvement. To determine the best solutions for improving locations, a formal safety study must be conducted that includes a review of existing roadway conditions and detailed crash analysis. This analysis helps identify common crash patterns to determine the best strategies to reduce crashes.

Project sponsors are encouraged to examine a full range of options starting with low-cost strategies, such as new signs, pavement markings and guardrail to mid-cost strategies such as new traffic signals, turn lanes and road realignments. Higher-cost projects, such as roundabouts and restricted crossing U-turns (RCUT), are also eligible projects if low cost strategies have been implemented.

Formal Safety Application Process:

The Ohio Department of Transportation is making major changes to its Highway Safety Improvement Program – both its safety application and scoring process. These changes are needed to streamline our process, and address Ohio crash trends and budget projections.

  1. Two application submission cycles will be held each year with March 31st and August 31st being the due dates. These dates help project sponsors transition from project award into consultant selection if necessary.
  2. The minimum threshold for submitting a safety application is three crashes per year with 30% of the crashes involving a fatality or injury.
  3. Scoring criteria has been modified to give higher priority to projects that address crash severity. Projects addressing crash frequency and congestion, but lower severity will receive fewer points in the scoring process.
  4. ODOT will set target amounts for funding awarded each application cycle. The amount will be announced in advance of each round and based on available funding. ODOT currently has about $125M it can award through 2025.
  5. Projects in communities with higher levels of poverty will receive more points – up to 10% toward the total project score. Equity scoring will be determined using census data.
  6. Communities in economic distress may be eligible for a reduced local match. Determinations will be made based on available funds, census and other fiscal distress data.
  7. Benefit cost ratio has been eliminated from the scoring. However, projects with a benefit to cost ratio less than 1.0 will receive lower priority for funding. The cost will be based on the safety funding request. Project sponsors will be discouraged from applying for funds unless they provide reasonable justification for the low b/c ratio.

These changes are necessary based on a variety of reasons.

  • Traffic deaths in Ohio have risen seven of the past eight years. Focusing on severity will help ODOT better address these crashes and help Ohio align its investments with federal safety requirements focused on reducing fatalities and serious injuries.
  • ODOT wants to help Ohio communities with fewer financial resources struggling to make critical safety investments. Many communities have historically lacked the resources to apply for safety funding or provide the required local match. ODOT wants to expand their opportunities to participate in the program.

Selection Process:

Applications are reviewed by multi-disciplinary committees in the District and Central Office. The committees have expertise in safety analysis, roadway design, traffic engineering and highway maintenance. These committees evaluate investments based on factors such as crash analysis; statewide, regional or local priority; and cost/benefit analysis. The committee reviews about 70 applications per year.

Scoring Matrix

HSIP Scoring Matrix