State Transportation Agencies

Departments of transportation

All states have a department of transportation (or highway department) with roles and responsibilities that include:

  • Plan, operate, and maintain state roadways
  • Develop and implement a Statewide Transportation Plan with strategies and policies to maintain mobility for all modes of transportation on federal highways and state roadways
  • Operate and maintain a transportation forecast model (a computer program) to estimate future traffic volumes on federal and state roadways
  • Prepare a fiscally constrained Statewide Transportation Improvement Plan (STIP) that includes bicycle, pedestrian, transit, and motorized vehicle-related projects to streets of regional significance
  • Design and construct projects in the STIP, or hire consultants to design and construct projects
  • Operate traffic signals on state routes, or collaborate with local agencies regarding signal operations
  • Establish and implement a Strategic Highway Safety Plan
  • Administer federal funding programs, such as Enhancements and Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality (CMAQ) improvement programs
  • Provide technical assistance to local jurisdictions
  • Establish a full-time position for bicycle/pedestrian coordinator whose duties include planning and administering a bicycle/pedestrian program
  • Establish a full-time position for Safe Routes to School (SRTS) coordinator (if the state wishes to use SRTS designated funds)

Staff assigned to the positions in the last two bullet points can provide additional information about state programs and responsibilities.

Office of traffic (or highway) safety

All states maintain an office that administers grant funds for the Federal program defined in SAFETEA-LU (Title 23, section 402) and previous highway funding legislation. Sometimes referred to as the Governor's Office of Traffic Safety, most of these offices are within larger organizations such as the Department of Transportation, Department of Public Safety, or State Police/Highway Patrol. Duties include:

  • Develop and implement a highway safety plan that seeks to reduce the number and severity of traffic crashes in the state
  • Manage a grant program for local and state entities that provides "seed money" for programs to improve traffic safety

These offices often fund grants for education programs.