The Interactive Highway Safety Design Model (IHSDM) is a suite of software developed by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) for monitoring and analyzing two-lane rural highways in the United States. As IHSDM is a fairly "young" program a limited amount of research has been conducted to evaluate its practicability and reliability. To determine if IHSDM can be adopted into the engineering decision making process in Utah, a study was conducted under the supervision of the Utah Department of Transportation (UDOT) to evaluate its applicability to audit safety of two-lane rural highways in Utah. IHSDM consists of six modules: Policy Review Module (PRM), Crash Prediction Module (CPM), Design Consistency Module (DCM), Traffic Analysis Module (TAM), Intersection Review Module (IRM), and Driver/Vehicle Module (DVM) (still under construction). Among the six modules, two were chosen for evaluation because of their applicability to audit safety of the two-lane rural highways in Utah, namely CPM and IRM. For the evaluation of the CPM, three two-lane rural highway sections were selected. The results of this evaluation show that the CPM can produce reasonably reliable crash predictions if appropriate input data, especially alignment data, reflect the existing conditions at reasonable accuracy and engineering judgment is used. Using crash records available from UDOT's crash database and CPM's crash prediction capability, UDOT's traffic and safety engineers can locate "hot spots" for detailed safety audit, thus making the safety audit task more focused and effective. Unlike the CPM, the outputs of the IRM are qualitative and include primarily suggestions and recommendations. They will help the traffic and safety engineers identify what to look for as they visit the sites, such as a lack of stopping sight distance and a lack of passing sight distance. The interpretation of the IRM requires knowledge of various aspects of highway design, familiarity with A Policy on Geometric Design of Highways and Streets by the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO), and experience in traffic engineering. Based on the findings of the study, it is concluded that the CPM and IRM of IHSDM could be a useful tool for engineering decision-making during safety audits of two-lane rural highways. But the outputs from these modules demand knowledge and experience in highway design. It is recommended that the other modules of IHSDM be tested to fully appreciate the capability of IHSDM. The software can be a knowledgebased program that can help novice engineers to learn how to design safe two-lane rural highways.



College and Department

Ira A. Fulton College of Engineering and Technology; Civil and Environmental Engineering



Date Submitted


Document Type





IHSDM, FHWA, UDOT, transportation engineering, civil engineering, traffic, intersection, safety audits, CPM, PRM, DCM, IRM, DVM, rural highways, Utah, animal-crashes