Do you work for a small rural city? Do you want to make your roadways safer for you and your neighbors? Do you lack specific transportation safety knowledge or money to buy training?
Get to know the National Center for Rural Road Safety.
This Federal Highway Administration national center of excellence exists to help local and rural practitioners learn the basics of transportation safety, free of charge to those municipalities. The goal is to help everyone know enough to make a difference and save lives in their communities.
“We live and breathe for rural communities,” said Jaime Sullivan, director of the center. “Our sole purpose is to ‘equip the doers,’ those people in rural areas who want to make their roads safer but don’t have the resources of larger entities.”
A signature offering of the center is the Road Safety Champion Program (RSCP). It is designed specifically for people without specialized roadway safety knowledge. Think of it as Roadway Safety 101.
All RSCP candidates start with seven basic core modules that provide an overview of road safety topics. This provides a foundation. Then, people can choose from four career-focused pathways based on their interest and expertise:
- Maintenance & Construction
- Planning & Engineering
- Public Health
- Law Enforcement & First Responders
The center launched the RSCP in September of 2022 and is currently offering the core modules.
“We will offer the core modules in the fall of 2022 and again in the spring of 2023,” Sullivan said. “We want this to be as accessible as possible to rural communities.”
While the RSCP is a main product of the center, it offers many other safety trainings throughout the year, at least one a month. It also provides rural-focused resources and some technical assistance, all free of charge.
Another crucial focus of the center is maintaining and growing a national network of people who all share the vision of making roads safer.
“It is sometimes hard for small cities to know what others are doing around the country regarding roadway safety,” Sullivan said. “That’s where we can help. We are a national hub. If you want to learn what other practitioners are doing and where they are finding success, we either know them or know someone who does. Reach out anytime.”
The center has regular newsletters to keep people informed on its latest trainings, but also others around the country. Subscribe by filling out a simple form.
Sullivan wants rural cities to know they have help.
“Nearly half the fatal crashes in the country each year happen in rural communities,” she said. “There is no way to make our roads safer without helping rurals. That’s why we’re here.”
If you have questions for or would like information from the center, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
About the Author
Jaime Sullivan is the director of the National Center for Rural Road Safety. She is also a Senior Research Engineer at the Western Transportation Institute at Montana State University Bozeman.