Strategic Transportation Safety Plan

Our Vision

The future of Colorado is zero deaths and serious injuries so all people using any transportation mode arrive at their destination.

Our Mission

Colorado agencies and partners will cooperatively implement strategies that eliminate transportation system fatalities and serious injuries.


The State of Colorado is committed to the well-being of its citizens and visitors, and wants to be ever more effective in improving roadway safety around our state. The Strategic Transportation Safety Plan (STSP) establishes a collaborative and shared vision and mission for transportation safety in Colorado. It relies on the premise that every agency and jurisdiction has a role in enhancing transportation safety for every transportation mode in Colorado through policy, planning, funding, design and construction, operations, and maintenance. The STSP identifies the key safety needs in Colorado for guiding investment decisions towards strategies and countermeasures with the highest potential to save lives and prevent injuries.

The Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT), Colorado Department of Health and Environment (CDPHE), Colorado State Patrol (CSP), and the Colorado Department of Revenue (CDOR) are the lead agencies that direct the development of the STSP. The process focused on the analysis of recent crash trend patterns with expertise from safety stakeholders around Colorado. Development of the STSP came together through a collaborative interplay between Regional Stakeholders and a Steering Committee, with overall policy direction from an Executive Committee.

Performance Targets

Implementation of the STSP strategies is anticipated to reduce the number and rate of fatalities and serious injuries in Colorado. The STSP identifies performance targets for these measures to be achieved over the 2020 to 2023 period of the plan. Achieving the performance targets is dependent upon the lead agencies’ attention and devotion of resources to implement the strategies.

Recognizing that the STSP vision will be realized over a long term, the Executive Committee established a 15% reduction in fatalities and serious injuries as the performance target for the 2020 to 2023 time frame. This target is both plausible and aggressive given the estimated effectiveness of the STSP strategies. Note: If vehicle miles traveled (VMT) increases as expected, a commensurate decease in crash rates will be required to achieve the targeted reduction in serious injuries and fatalities.

The same performance targets apply for all serious injuries and fatalities, as well as serious injuries and fatalities of non-motorized roadway users. These performance targets should influence, and be influenced by, Office of Transportation Safety (OTS) and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) targets.

2020 STSP

2020 STSP

2020 STSP

2020 STSP

*Crash data from 2019 was still preliminary and undergoing review at the time this plan was finalized in April 2020. To maintain integrity of the analysis, the remainder of this plan utilizes data through 2018, which is complete per CDOT and FHWA procedures.

Crash Data Dashboards

Transportation safety is a top priority for Colorado. CDOT Traffic Safety & Engineering Services is developed performance dashboards displaying all reporting public roadway crashes in Colorado to better understand numbers, causes, types, and locations of crashes in order to develop effective countermeasures and meet performance targets.

Disclaimer: Colorado traffic crashes as presented in the dashboard are approximate and subject to change. The official number of traffic fatalities in Colorado can be found on NHTSA's Fatal Analysis Reporting System (FARS) site.

Statewide Dashboard Navigation Button

Statewide Summary

Performance Tracking


Non Motorists

Emphasis Areas

Emphasis Areas are a required element of strategic highway safety plans and are based on traffic crash data analysis and broad stakeholder input. The Emphasis Areas for the Colorado STSP were identified by the Steering Committee and participants at the Regional Stakeholder Workshops and were then further defined by the Emphasis Area Teams. The emphasis areas are (click on each icon for more information):

This emphasis area was identified to address high-risk behaviors. High-risk behaviors are the behaviors exhibited while traveling on a roadway that increase the risk of crashes or reduces the survivability of crashes, such as: aggressive driving, distracted driving, impaired driving, driving without a seatbelt, and operating a motorcycle or riding on a motorcycle without wearing a helmet.

CDOT's Current Initiatives include:

 Distracted Driving

Alcohol & Impaired Driving

Car Seats

Seat Belts

Motorcycle Safety

This emphasis area was identified to address the needs of vulnerable roadway users, such as, young and older drivers, non-motorized road users (pedestrians and cyclists), motorcyclists, persons with disabilities or reduced mobility and orientation, and work zones staff.

CDOT's Current Initiatives include:

Teen Drivers

Motorcycle Safety

Work Zone Safety

Traffic Safety Reports

Improving Colorado's Road Health Summit

Traffic Safety Agency Portal

Drive Smart Colorado

This emphasis area was identified to research methods and practices to provide mitigation to severe crashes by analyzing infrastructure, crash reduction locations, intersections, and roadway departures. A severe crash is a crash that results in evident incapacitating injury or fatality.

CDOT's Current Initiatives include:

Highway Safety Improvement Program

 FASTER Safety Mitigation Program

 Safety Circuit Rider

High Risk Rural Road

This emphasis area was identified to monitor and improve the activities related to the administration and governance of safety programs involving public agencies, nonprofit organizations, and other safety stakeholders.

CDOT's Current Initiatives include:

2016 STRAC Strategic Plan

405C Traffic Records Program


Based on the emphasis areas, 15 Tier I strategies were developed that focus on proven countermeasures, targeted deployment, utilize current technologies, and identify roles and responsibilities for implementation. Tier II and Tier III supporting strategies are also included in the STSP.

1A. Name a safety champion to lead a proactive safety program.
Name a safety champion to lead an inclusive safety program with the responsibility, resources, and authority to advance safety strategies and monitor effectiveness. This strategy will provide a focused approach to championing, coordinating, and implementing safety programming. CDOT will lead implementation with support from CSP, CDPHE, and CDOR.

1B. Build a safety advocacy coalition.
Build a safety coalition of advocacy groups and state and local agencies to function as a lobbying and advocacy group. This group will work toward revisions to laws and policies at all phases of development and enforcement. This strategy will increase the visibility of key safety issues in policy discussions and create a central forum for strengthening relationships among participants and decision-makers in safety initiatives. CDOT will lead implementation with support from CSP and CDPHE.

1C. Institutionalize safety roles and responsibilities.
Establish agreements that define the ways agencies and organizations work together to deliver safety programs, including roles and responsibilities. These will be formal mechanisms such as a memorandum of understanding. Less formal arrangements may be appropriate at local levels. CSP and CDOT will lead implementation with support from CDPHE and CDOR.

1D. Coordinate with existing safety programs.
Coordinate the development and implementation of safety programs, incorporating strategies among agencies at the state and local level (example existing programs include CDOT’s Whole System Whole Safety, and regional and local Vision Zero programs). This strategy will improve the reach and impact of the state’s safety programs and avoid duplication of safety program development efforts. CDOT will lead implementation with support from CSP.

1E. Promote consistent safety messaging.
Coordinate the efforts of safety agencies and advocacy groups to develop consistent public-facing safety messaging to be distributed to audiences across the state. This strategy will create greater public safety awareness through consistent messaging. CDOT Highway Safety Office and CDOT Office of Communications will lead implementation with support from CSP, CDPHE, and CDOR.

1F. Develop education campaigns for high risk behaviors.
Develop outreach campaigns aimed at high-risk groups, such as aggressive, distracted, and impaired drivers, with the goal to enhance and coordinate efforts among statewide education platforms. Occupant protection education campaigns will also be included within this strategy. CDOT Highway Safety Office and CDOT Office of Communications will lead implementation with support from CSP, CDPHE, and CDOR.

1G. Provide transportation safety education to students and families.
Establish a culture of safety among young people by expanding existing and developing new transportation safety education programs that engage them over many years. One aim of this strategy is to develop a comprehensive curriculum that can be used for education statewide, including education on how to be a safe pedestrian and bicyclist. CSP and CDOT will lead implementation with support from CDPHE.

1H. Prioritize transportation safety funding.
Increase the importance of safe infrastructure and transportation in transportation funding decisions. Educate funding decision-makers on the importance of safety and how funds could be used to make improvements. Colorado Transportation Commission will lead implementation with support from CDOT, CSP, CDPHE, and CDOR.

1I. Prioritize safety in transportation planning, facility design, and project selection.
Review policies and processes of roadway planning, design, and project selection to determine what role safety plays in decision-making. This includes updating existing planning and design guidelines and standards to integrate enhanced safety measures. CDOT and CSP will lead implementation with support from CDPHE.

1J. Educate decision-makers on the effectiveness of occupant protection laws.
Research and document the benefits of occupant protection laws, such as seatbelt use, helmet use, and restrictions on personal device use. Using available data, this strategy aims to educate legislators, commissioners, and other decision-makers on the benefits of such laws to aid in the development of new policies. CDOT will lead implementation with support from CDPHE, CSP, and CDOR.

1K. Increase requirements for new and renewal driver licensing.
Expand the graduated driver licensing (GDL) system to increase education and practice requirements for new drivers to obtain a license, and develop appropriate testing requirements to verify driver competency with increased age. CDOR will lead implementation with support from CSP and CDPHE.

1L. Establish a framework for streamlining data management.
Improve data gathering, reporting, storage, linkage, processing, analyses, and dissemination throughout the state for traffic records databases following the FHWA measures of quality: timeliness, accuracy, completeness, uniformity, integration, and accessibility. The databases will provide more uniform confidence in crash mitigation for agencies at both the state and local level. CDOT will lead the implementation with support from the Statewide Traffic Records Advisory Committee (STRAC), CSP, CDOT, and CDPHE, as directed by the newly formed leadership group that will be a liaison between the Executive Directors of the partner agencies and STRAC.

1M. Prioritize and promote proven safety toolbox strategies.
Educate state and local traffic engineers on existing, known, and, effective safety toolbox strategies in transportation facility design, construction, and operation. This strategy will promote inclusion of proven strategies in design practices and development of Local Road Safety Plans by local agencies. CDOT will lead implementation with support from CSP.

1N. Implement systemic infrastructure safety improvement strategies.
Continue with existing safety implementation projects and programs as well as identify and implement the most effective wide-scale safety mitigation strategies. Examples of these strategies include, but are not limited to, rumble strips, median barriers, and fully protected left-turn phasing. CDOT will lead implementation with support from local city and county transportation departments as well as CDOT Region Traffic Engineers.

1O. Increase education on and implementation of data-driven and automated enforcement.
Increase implementation of data-driven enforcement for speeding and red-light running at high-crash locations. Educate decision-makers on the effectiveness of automated enforcement as a safety enhancement rather than as a revenue generator. CDOT will lead implementation with support CSP.

2A. Explore and adopt context sensitive speed limit setting protocols.
Research context-sensitive speed limit setting protocols. Coordinate with state and local agencies to establish standards for speed limit setting.

2B. Advocate for more impactful fees and sentencing guidelines (e.g., repeat offender increases).
Coordinate with the safety coalition Tier I strategy. Educate decision-makers on the need for more impactful fees and sentencing for repeat offenders. Support local level law enforcement for addressing the non-licensed drivers / repeat offenders.

2C. Optimize incident management response practices.
Institutionalize standards for incident management response statewide.

2D. Implementation of correct work zone traffic control practices for vulnerable roadway users especially on city and county roads.
Consider the development of a local level roadside safety task force. Institutionalize best practices for roadside workers.

2E. Educate workers on safe roadside practices (e.g., the importance of wearing personal protective equipment).
Develop education campaigns targeted at roadside safety. Deploy the campaigns statewide at both the state and local levels.

2F. Develop a comprehensive education campaign around vulnerable roadway users.
Perform outreach aimed at vulnerable roadway users. Target high-risk behaviors of vulnerable roadway users. Target bicyclists - rules for biking on roads and multi use paths. Conduct campaigns to educate the driving population about the safety of roadside workers, e.g., first responders and work zones.

2G. Educate the public on how to navigate new infrastructure (e.g., roundabouts and diverging diamonds).
Develop campaigns on navigating new infrastructure for driving population. Engage student driving classes and include the education of new infrastructure as part of driver licensing class requirements.

2H. Engage with vulnerable roadway users during the project planning and design processes.
Consider vulnerable roadway user needs in both the planning and design process. Engage advocacy groups, task forces, and local agencies. Establish standards/guidelines for consistency between communities, state and local infrastructure.

2I. Emphasize effects on driver behavior of roadway design during project planning and design.
Engage behavior experts, task forces, and advocacy groups during project planning and design processes.

2J. Research high-risk behaviors.
Coordinate with existing high-risk task forces and develop research program. Identify trends that will require additional resources to research.

2K. Ensure new vehicle licensing and registration for vehicles with advance technologies exceed existing vehicle safety levels.
Evaluate the possibly of an incentive program for drivers who register a vehicle with advance technologies. Engage insurance companies and in-vehicle technology companies.

2L. Implement technological advances as they become available.
Develop a technology task force to lead the implementation of new technology for safety measures. Utilize the technology toolbox in the STSP.

2M. Implement automated enforcement.
Coordinate with local agencies to incorporate automated enforcement at data-driven high-crash locations.

2N. Implement railroad crossing outreach programs.
Continue to fund CDOT’s Railroad Program to analyze railroad crossings using a risk-based analysis system to identify high-risk crossings and appropriate countermeasures.

3A. Increase amount of passing lanes and signage to reduce driver aggression and frustration.
Use crash data / crash statistics to determine locations where passing lanes could be considered. Develop a standard for passing lane signing and striping for statewide consistency.

3B. Provide additional information and advance warnings about work zones and other roadway activities.
Evaluate the need for public awareness campaigns about work zones and construction projects especially in the local communities.

3C. Provide ride home programs for impaired drivers, including rural areas.
Engage ride share companies during program development. Coordinate with local / rural law enforcement and establishments that serve alcohol. Incentivize impaired drivers to use ride home programs instead of getting behind the wheel.

3D. Develop education campaigns around severe crash locations.
3Use data/ crash statistics to determine which locations need additional education. Develop campaigns to educate the driving population and vulnerable roadway users about target locations.

3E. Educate the public on how smart cars don't solve all safety problems.
Develop an education campaign regarding the capabilities of smart car technology.

3F. Advocate and educate decision-makers on the effectiveness of required motor vehicle safety inspections.
Research states that have mandatory motor vehicle safety inspections. Develop a coalition to advocate for safety inspections – could be included in Tier I Safety Coalition strategy. Provide ride home programs for impaired drivers, including in rural areas. Engage ride share companies during program development. Coordinate with local / rural law enforcement and establishments that serve alcohol. Incentivize impaired drivers to use ride home programs instead of getting behind the wheel.

3G. Include vulnerable roadway user needs in transportation engineering curriculum.
Engage college administration and professors with transportation engineering curriculums. Develop curriculum with experts and advocacy groups for vulnerable roadway users.

3H. Address multicultural challenges (e.g., language barriers).
Engage multicultural advocacy groups and communities during the planning and design processes.