Driver, Vehicle, and Roadside Strategies for 2010

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration


Prioritize research activities so that limited funds are applied to the most promising research topics in order to improve commercial motor vehicle safety.

Project Challenge

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has limited funds to apply to potentially thousands of areas of investigation in the quest to improve commercial vehicle safety and security. Concurrently, the Agency needs to increase the number of innovative, strategic research projects.

Project Results

The Driver, Vehicle, and Roadside Strategies (DVRS) for 2010 was established to address these challenges by creating a systematic methodology for evaluating and identifying the projects that would impact safety most.

Our Approach

Cambridge Systematics and the FMCSA developed a methodology that focused on the most frequently recorded crash characteristics and prioritized projects based on the likely safety benefits. We combined statistical analyses, a balanced scorecard, and expert opinion.

The methodology had five distinct phases:

  1. Review of truck and bus historical crash data;
  2. Identification of key crash characteristics;
  3. Definition of research strategies to address common crash characteristics;
  4. Evaluation and prioritization of research initiatives using a balanced scorecard and database tool designed by Cambridge Systematics; and
  5. Validation of the methodology and development of an implementation schedule.
Motor Carrier Report screen shot

From a list of 65 possibilities, 6 innovative research projects were funded. The methodology developed by Cambridge Systematics prioritized candidate research projects based on potential safety impact, feasibility, and cost. A web-based decision support tool was developed for FMCSA to assist in this process. The funded projects are:

  • Development of a Driver Safety History Indicator for use at roadside;
  • Feasibility of deploying driver violation notifications nationally;
  • Specification and pilot testing of an anti-fraud commercial driving license system;
  • Study of the factors contributing to rear-end crashes and recommendation of innovative solutions;
  • Investigation of effective crash-reducing technology countermeasures for light vehicle – heavy vehicle conflicts to develop recommendations to address these; and
  • Research on the feasibility of identifying driver factors that increase the risk of a crash.

The DVRS for 2010 methodology is easily transferable and is being rolled out for all Research and Technology funded projects within FMCSA.