Safety and the IMPO
Each year, more than 40,000 people are killed on America’s streets and hundreds of thousands more are seriously injured. In 2020 in Indiana alone, there were 175,821 total collisions reported by law enforcement. 808 of these were fatal crashes, resulting in 896 fatalities. An estimated 38,913 people were injured in 2020 according to the Indiana University Public Policy Institute in partnership with the Indiana Criminal Justice Institute. These deaths are often called traffic “accidents,” but we have the responsibility, knowledge, and resources to prevent them.
Safety is particularly important for more vulnerable road users — those who are bicycling and walking. Of the total severe injury/fatal crashes reported in the MPA, 6.2% involved a bicyclist or pedestrian. In the Central Indiana MPA, 6% of households do not have access to a car, 37% of people are over 65 or under 18 years of age, and 12% of households are living below the poverty level.
Ensuring safe, accessible, and desirable transportation in the region is central to the IMPO’s mission. The IMPO strives to support safety across its core programs and works to create a regional transportation system designed to safely and comfortably accommodate all users, of all ages and abilities. This includes motorists, cyclists, pedestrians, transit users, school bus riders, delivery and service personnel, freight haulers, and emergency responders. Despite these efforts, roadway crashes are increasingly depriving individuals of their lives. The trend, tragically, is moving in the wrong direction.
The information below outlines how the IMPO addresses safety across its four foundational pillars of convene, inform, plan, and fund. These plans and programs are made possible by the IMPO Transportation Policy Committee in cooperation with our State and Federal planning partners. The Policy Committee is made up of elected officials and town managers from across the region who vote to approve all federally required IMPO transportation actions.
The IMPO regularly brings together regional partners to discuss issues in their fields, analyze data trends, and better understand the root cause of issues. The IMPO's goal is to identify collaborative solutions to move Central Indiana forward.
Want to get involved in improving transportation safety in Central Indiana? Typically, public input is gathered in a variety of ways, such as through meetings with the public and specific interest groups, official public hearings, emails, newsletters, social media, and other methods. The IMPO also has regular committee meetings including the Transportation Techincal Commitee and Transportation Policy Committee that are open to the public.
- Check our calendar to see what meetings are coming up
- Sign up for the teMPO newsletter to stay informed
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- Visit one of the individual project pages under "What's Underway" to keep track of project progress and opportunities for input and feedback.
- If you have a question or comment to submit through the website, you can do so with the general comment form, and we'll get back to you as quick as we can.
The Indianapolis MPO has a series of committees that each serve specific purposes and needs, which include:
- Transportation Policy Committee: Elected officials and town managers who vote to approve all federally required IMPO transportation actions. Meets bi-monthly, and meets jointly with the Transportation Technical Committee in the months of June and December.
- Transportation Technical Committee: Planners and engineers who provide expertise on proposed transportation policies and plans. Meets bi-monthly two weeks prior to each Transportation Policy Committee meeting, and meets jointly with the Transportation Policy Committee in the months of June and December.
- Executive Committee: A small, elected group of Policy members that oversee the operations of the IMPO. Currently, all the members are elected from the Transportation Policy Committee. As the IMPO grows into other areas, the Chair Person of other Policy disciplines (Economic Development, etc.) will be appointed to the Executive Committee. Meets monthly.
The IMPO informs members and the region about safety by setting benchmarks, tracking data and trends, and reporting data to our members and the general public. This “observe and report” role will support planning and decision-making across Central Indiana.
In 2022 the IMPO’s Safe Streets and Roads for All Safety Action Plan (or Safety Action Plan for short) was created and then adopted by the IMPO Policy Committee alongside an updated Vision Zero Resolution. This plan, intended to help address the rise in fatal and serious traffic crashes within the MPA, consists of several components: goal setting (the Vision Zero Resolution), safety analysis, public engagement, equity analysis, policy and process proposals, and progress reporting. This Annual Safety Report, to be published each year, fulfills the progress reporting aspect of the plan and will track the Indianapolis MPA’s progress towards its Vision Zero Resolution of reducing serious and fatal crashes by 35% by 2040. Click on the most recent report to see our progress.
On August 17, 2022 the IMPO Transportation Policy Committee adopted a Vision Zero Policy committing to reduce serious and fatal crashes by 35% by 2040. The IMPO considers this a starting point toward the goal of eliminating traffic deaths fully in the long term. Vision Zero is the strategy to eliminate traffic fatalities and severe injuries on all roadways. Vision Zero is built on the basis that traffic deaths and severe injuries are preventable. Vision Zero emphasizes a Safe Systems approach, which acknowledges that people make mistakes, and focuses on influencing system-wide practices, policies, and designs to lessen the severity of crashes.
Each year, more than 40,000 people are needlessly killed on American streets and thousands more are seriously injured. While often referred to as “accidents,” the reality is that traffic deaths from crashes are preventable. Vision Zero views traffic deaths as an urgent public health issue with the goal of using a variety of strategies to eliminate all serious injuries and deaths from crashes, not necessarily eliminate all crashes. This approach acknowledges that even the best drivers make mistakes so roads, vehicles, and health care responses must be designed to keep everyone on the road safer.
The Indianapolis MPO developed the Vision Zero Toolkit to inform Central Indiana residents about Vision Zero and provide realistic strategies for local action. While fully eliminating traffic crash deaths and injuries will require action from local policymakers, federal lawmakers, vehicle companies, and healthcare facilities, this toolkit is focused on plans, policies, and strategies that can actually be implemented on the local level.
The IMPO developed a High Injury Network (HIN) to identify the local corridors with the highest frequencies of crashes resulting in incapacitating injuries and fatalities within the MPA.⁷ The HIN represents the top 10% (234 centerline miles) of regional collector and arterial streets scored by the number of incapacitating injury and fatal crashes per centerline mile. The HIN enables IMPO and LPAs to prioritize safety investments and other strategies on the streets with the highest number of severe crashes to make rapid progress towards regional safety goals.
To construct the HIN, the IMPO used spatially verified vehicle, pedestrian, and cyclist crashes that occurred in the public right of way between 2016 and 2020, excluding crashes on interstates and expressways (with the exception of at-grade intersections and ramp intersections).⁸ Severe crashes were joined to eligible intersections and roadway segments. Candidate corridors spanning two or more intersections in the top 20th percentile by severe crash frequency were then identified. Over 500 centerline miles of candidate corridors across the region were scored by the number of severe crashes per mile, with fatal crashes receiving a higher weight. The top 234 miles, representing approximately 10% of the 2,358 miles of arterial and collector centerline miles not owned by INDOT, were then assigned to the HIN.
The IMPO’s crash dashboard displays over 8 years (2015 – November 2023) of fatal and incapacitating injury crash records in the 8-county region. The dashboard enables the IMPO’s Local Planning Agencies and the public to view the crash data with interactive filters that allow the user to select a specific year, crash type, or jurisdiction. Each individual crash location can also be selected for further crash details.
The IMPO's Road Safety Audit identifies 24 high-crash locations within the Indianapolis Metropolitan Planning Area (MPA). This includes 5 high-priority pedestrian and bicycle locations. For each location, the team reviewed crash data and existing conditions, created a collision diagram, conducted a field check, met with local engineering and police representatives, and identified specific improvements to remedy existing safety issues. Recommended improvements range from lower-cost maintenance items, such as signage and pavement markings, to higher-cost capital improvements. The final result includes both a map and technical report with more information about the intersections. A updated road safety audit will be completed in 2023.
This educational tool is intended to help teach road and driving safety through a fun interactive quiz. The quiz includes more than 75 questions in short 5 question segments. The quiz covers a broad range of topics but includes a focus on safety, especially for interactions with vulnerable road users. Take the Quiz.
The Central Indiana Ride Guide is an interactive map and resource for bicyclists and bicycle network planners. It maps all of the open bikeways in Central Indiana, streets identified as being low-stress for cyclists, and various cycling amenity locations. The bicycling amenities were identified by the public, bicycling organizations, and community engineers. Every May the IMPO asks residents to contribute to the map to help keep it as up-to-date as possible.
Across our country and region, crashes and deaths on our roads are up dramatically. While dangerous infrastructure is often to blame, distracted driving is another important behavioral factor in fatal crashes. All drivers can help make the roads safer by keeping their eyes up and just driving. “Eyes Up, Just Drive” was a summer campaign to highlight putting away distractions while driving and being more aware of infrastructure changes, pedestrians, children, individuals in wheelchairs, and those on bicycles, to save lives. The campaign included messaging and sharable resources on distracted driving.
The IMPO uses professional planning staff to document expert discussions, formalize strategies, and track implementation strategies. The IMPO makes both short term and long term plans to improve safety and other transportation goals across Central Indiana.
Ensuring safe, accessible, and desirable transportation in Central Indiana is central to the IMPO's mission. Over the past few years the IMPO Metropolitan Planning Area (MPA) has seen significant rises in fatal and incapacitating car crashes, a trend which, without intervention, is unlikely to reverse itself. In May 2022 the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) published a notice of funding opportunity for the Safe Streets and Roads for All (SS4A) Discretionary Grant. This program provides funding for both planning and implementation of infrastructure and initiatives designed to prevent death and serious injury on roads and streets. Building on its previous work on safety the IMPO pursued a Safety Action Plan that would meet the required program criteria and enable members to pursue implementation grants in 2022.
The 2022 Safety Action Plan was adopted by the IMPO Policy Committee August 17, 2022 and consists of several components: goal setting, safety analysis, public engagement, equity analysis, policy and process proposals, and progress reporting. Additionally, as part of this planning effort the IMPO adopted an updated Vision Zero statement which set a goal of reducing fatal and serious crashes by 35% by 2040. This Safety Action Plan represents the beginning of a more concentrated effort to improve safety in the Central Indiana MPA, and provides a foundation for the IMPO to pursue supplemental planning work on this topic. The plan will be updated annually throughout the life of the 5-year federal program to better understand the issues facing our region.
Every commuter begins and ends their day walking. The Regional Pedestrian Plan recognizes the importance of walking and planning infrastructure for individuals to complete the first or final length of their journey by foot, bike, scooter, mobility device, and more. The plan encourages the establishment of a connected pedestrian system that crosses county and municipality lines, providing the opportunity for continuous pedestrian activity throughout the Metropolitan Planning Area. The assigned priorities for filling gaps in the regional sidewalk network are based on region-wide goals and values. A combined bike and pedestrian regional active transportation plan will be completed in 2023. The 2023 plan will expand on our existing bike and pedestrian work and will have a focus on safety and Vision Zero.
Communities in Central Indiana are continuing to recognize the need for safe and convenient bicycle facilities that enhance connectivity to essential services, recreation, and businesses. The IMPO Regional Bikeways Plan documents open and proposed facilities in the region and provides recommendations to increase the number and length of safe bikeways in Central Indiana. The plan includes recommendations for increasing bicycling ridership and safety, identifies low-stress streets for bicycling, and prioritizes proposed bicycling infrastructure within the region according to the plan’s goals and values. A combined bike and pedestrian regional active transportation plan will be completed in 2023. The 2023 plan will expand on our existing bike and pedestrian work and will have a focus on safety and Vision Zero.
The IMPO actively identifies federal, state, and other third-party funding opportunities for regionally important projects. The IMPO directly manages certain funding types and uses its complete streets policy to require accommodations for all users where possible.
About the TIP
Among other tasks, the IMPO tracks and distributes funds through a program known as the Indianapolis Regional Transportation Improvement Program (IRTIP), or “TIP” for short. The TIP is a four-year plan for Central Indiana infrastructure. Depending on the type of project, the TIP tracks, schedules, and funds projects in Central Indiana based on regional priorities and cooperative input from communities throughout the area.
The TIP is a four-year schedule of transportation projects proposed by government and transportation agencies in the Indianapolis Metropolitan Planning Area using Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) funds, Federal Transit Administration (FTA) funds, and Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT) funds. In addition, other projects that are considered regionally significant (for air quality conformity purposes) are included, regardless of the funding source. All projects in the TIP can be viewed on the IMPO’s online TIP database known as MiTIP (http://mitip.indympo.org).
The IMPO receives an annual allocation of funding from the Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT) to support transportation projects within the Metropolitan Planning Area (MPA). A legislatively approved formula is used by FHWA to apportion funding to each state which then apportions these funds to MPOs. Each year the IMPO goes through a process to determine what projects receive this funding. The process to receive IMPO-managed funding is highly competitive. To select projects to receive the IMPO’s funding, the IMPO issues an annual “call-for-projects”. During the call-for-projects local public agencies (typically cities, towns, counties, and transit organizations) choose projects to submit for consideration by completing a data-driven application and committing to locally fund a portion of the project cost. The IMPO then selects projects for funding based on the funding goals of the Metropolitan Transportation Plan (MTP) as adopted by the IMPO’s Transportation Policy Committee, federal eligibility requirements, and on their rank after the scoring process.The IMPO gives away approximately $47.5 million each year for projects across the region.
When developing the list of recommended projects to receive IMPO-managed funding, the IMPO is guided by the goals of the region’s long-range Metropolitan Transportation Plan, the goals of federal transportation programs, and the scores of projects judged through the IMPO’s TIP scoring criteria. The overarching goal of this selection method is to select high-quality and high impact projects that help the region meet its goals. This selection method is also intended to be collaborative including input from local agencies, elected officials, and the community while meeting state and federal regulations. Safety is a priority across the TIP. Safety impacts are used to help score and prioritize many types of projects. Furthermore, of the IMPO's funding sources, the Federal Fund Exchange Highway Safety Improvement Program (FFE-HSIP) is dedicated solely to safety improvements.
Complete Streets are roadways designed to safely and comfortably accommodate all users, of all ages and abilities, including but not limited to motorists, cyclists, pedestrians, transit users, school bus riders, delivery and service personnel, freight haulers, and emergency responders.
The IMPO's Complete Streets Policy was adopted in 2014 and amended in October 2016. The policy requires projects using certain IMPO managed funds to implement complete streets where reasonable. These requirements include either a sidewalk, multi-use path, or bike lane.
Embracing the complete streets concept will help create balanced transportation systems by providing accessible, safe, and efficient connections between destinations. Integrating sidewalks, bike facilities, transit amenities, and safe crossings into the initial design of a project spares the expense and complications of retrofits implemented at a later date. Furthermore, proactively planning for a multimodal transportation system can promote its integration with land-use policies to encourage more sustainable development. The National Complete Streets Coalition provides numerous resources for local municipalities who may wish to create their own complete streets policies.
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