Safety Circuit Rider

Local agencies operate and own approximately 75% of all public roadways.  Nearly 80% of these roads are classified as rural.  Even though these roads only carry 40% of the traffic, nearly 60% of all crash fatalities occur on local roads.  As such, there is a need to focus safety related information and training to support the local agencies responsible for roadway safety.

In 2005, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) identified an opportunity to enhance safety service primarily to serve counties and local agencies.  As such, Safety Circuit Rider (SCR) positions were developed in the states of Florida, Kentucky and West Virginia.  Today, there are more than 20 states that have developed Safety Circuit Rider positions.  The Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT), in partnership with the FHWA and Local Technical Assistance Program (LTAP), is pleased to announce the creation of the Safety Circuit Rider position for Colorado.

Our mission is to provide safety related training and to work hand-in-hand, boots on the ground, with counties to identify, diagnose, and treat safety deficiencies on the local roadway system. The Safety Circuit Rider program work toward vision zero in support of the Statewide Safety Plan.



Providing technical assistance including:

  • Supporting local agencies in the development of local road safety plans (LSRP);
  • Disseminating roadway safety data to local road safety stakeholders;
  • Conducting local road safety data diagnostics to identify and prioritize Highway Safety Improvement Program (HSIP) funded local agency safety projects;
  • Providing technical assistance to local agencies in applying for HSIP safety funds and submittal of project proposals to CDOT's Traffic & Safety Engineering branch;
  • Working closely with the CDOT Traffic & Safety Engineers, CDOT LPA program manager, and regional local agency coordinators on statewide safety project related issues, project identification, submittal, selection, prioritization, and implementation; and
  • Organizing and conducting road safety reviews for local agencies.


Planning and delivering training activities:

  • Organizing and/or conducting on-call trainings for special topics;
    Current trainings offered:
    • Guardrail
    • Intersection Safety
    • Low-cost Safety Solutions
    • Pavement Markings
    • Pedestrian Safety
    • Work Zone Safety
    • Traffic Signal Basics
    • Roadway & Roadside Safety Fundamental
    • Safety on Unpaved Roads
    • Sign Management
    • Speed Zoning
    • Traffic Calming
    • Traffic Engineering Fundamentals
  • Organizing and/or conducting statewide safety workshops (i.e. systemic safety); and
  • Organizing and/or conducting webinars, peer exchanges, etc.


General safety-program support, such as:

  • Serving as the safety liaison professional between CDOT and the Local Technical Assistance Program (LTAP);
  • Supporting the Colorado Strategic Transportation Safety Plan (STSP);
  • Participating in LTAP and CDOT sponsored meetings and conferences and providing safety presentations, demonstrations, and moderator services when requested;
  • Responding to local road safety related questions from a variety of stakeholders, including but are not limited to, local agencies, Federal Highways Administration (FHWA), National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT), Colorado Local Technical Assistance Program (CLTAP), Denver Motor Vehicle (DMV), Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPO), Transportation Planning Organizations (TPR), Statewide Traffic Records Advisory Committee (STRAC), Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment (CDPHE), and others; and
  • Developing articles on safety-related topics for use in newsletters and other publications.

Safety Circuit Rider White Papers


Not all locations are good candidates for marked crosswalks. An engineering analysis must be conducted for each new location as well determining if existing crosswalks should be removed based on the design and ADT of the location.

Emergency Response - Golden Hour

For emergency medicine, the “Golden Hour” refers to the immediate one-hour time period following a traumatic car crash injury, during which, chances of preventing death by way of prompt medical treatment are the highest. Approximately 36% of fatal crashes in rural areas had response times greater than 60 minutes. There is a need to improve this time as we push toward vision zero. 


Guardrail is a very effective safety device and has saved many lives. It is understood that the guardrail is protecting a hazard that may have caused a fatal crash. The point of this paper is to have one consider all the above options prior to the consideration of guardrail installation. 

Older Motorcycle Drivers

According to National Safety Council, 36% of all motorcycle fatalities in 2017 were older riders (50 years and older). According to the Insurance Information Institute, in 2016, motorcycle fatality rates were approximately 30 times greater than fatality rates for passenger cars. One can conclude that motorcycle fatality rates are disproportionately higher than that of a passenger car. 

Pedestrian Safety

Pedestrian and Bicycle crashes are on the rise nationwide. As such, we as safety
professionals need to address pedestrian and bike safety in all aspects for both maintenance and engineering projects. Because pedestrians are among the most vulnerable road users, the guidance is intended to help transportation agencies and other entities to address crashes by promoting countermeasures with proven benefits at uncontrolled crossing locations.

Unpaved Road Safety

According to the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), in 2012 there were 1,357,430 miles of unpaved roads in the United States, accounting for almost 35 percent of the more than 4 million miles of roadway. There are 184,913 lane miles in Colorado. Of those lane miles, 105,130 lane miles are unpaved representing approximately 57% of all roadways in Colorado. Even though there are more unpaved roads in Colorado, nationally unpaved roads only account for approximately 2 percent of fatalities. 

Using a Systemic Approach to Crash Analysis

Developing a crash analysis for rural areas can be a challenging task. Traditionally, a crash site analysis approach is employed for most roadways to look for hot spots (cluster of crashes) and then develops countermeasures based on the crash type. However, in rural areas, hot spots generally do not exist. Due to the low volume of rural roads, the crashes tend to be dispersed with no apparent pattern. As such, using a systemic approach can be effective.

The Safety Circuit Rider Team

Sanjiv Gupta, P.E.
[email protected]

Sanjiv Gupta joined the Traffic Safety and Engineering Services Branch as the Program Manager of the Safety Circuit Rider Program in 2023. He has been with CDOT since 2018 as an Intelligent Transportation Systems Project Engineer and has designed and overseen the construction of safety projects around the state.