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About the Center for Excellence in Rural Safety

The Center for Excellence in Rural Safety provides citizen-centered research, training, and outreach to enhance rural safety and to meet the online and seminar training needs of rural transportation practitioners and policymakers. The Center conducts several focused research activities to explore policy, behavior, and technology approaches, such as projects addressing safety-conscious planning, ITS and rural emergency response, integrated policy approaches, and related human factors, societal trends, and stakeholder needs analysis.

The Center for Excellence in Rural Safety is a joint program between the Hubert H. Humphrey School of Public Affairs and the Center for Transportation Studies, authorized in 2005 by the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU). The Center's mission is to facilitate training, research and educational exchange in the areas of travel safety and choices, technology, economic development, citizen participation, and community development.


Enabling on-scene emergency responders to provide critical data about crash victims directly to waiting ER personnel

Rural Highway Safety Clearinghouse

An easy-to-use starting point for information about safety on our nation's rural roads

Safe Road Maps

Your indispensable crash-mapping tool with detailed U.S. traffic fatality info, from a community to national level

The Center will be conducting research and developing teaching and outreach materials in five thematic areas:

  • Travel Safety and Choices. This theme addresses developing safer and more accessible travel options. The level of fatalities in rural areas is much higher than in urban areas. In addition, travel needs range from basic mobility for the elderly and other transportation disadvantaged populations to the needs of knowledge workers to get efficiently to and from urban centers.
  • Technology. This theme will address the role that technology plays in improving emergency response in rural areas as well as improving access to goods and services (including transportation services) by rural citizens, including young, elderly and transit dependent.
  • Economic development. Improved transportation access could play an important role in supporting the growth of key industry clusters in rural areas. This training and outreach and dimension will involve working with experts to develop methods for identifying those industry clusters and developing a better understanding of their transportation needs.
  • Citizen Participation. Citizen participation in transportation planning provides a number of benefits, including; increasing public support for projects and policies, increasing the efficiency of the decisions by reducing time to construction, enhancing the agency's credibility, reducing the risks of litigation and providing decisions that reflect community values and local knowledge. Involving rural citizens in the transportation decision process presents special challenges that will be addressed by this theme.
  • Community Development. This theme will address the impact of transportation on community development and character. Rural economic growth is key to the vitality of rural areas. Transportation access to these communities requires new infrastructure and many local areas must make improvements in public infrastructure and services necessary to compete successfully.

The Center is also actively involved with the Transportation Research Board (TRB) Joint Subcommittee on Rural Road Safety Policy, Programming, and Implementation—the first TRB entity to focus solely on rural roadway safety. The scope of the joint subcommittee includes all research and research-related activities connected to rural roadway safety, the drivers and vehicles that use these facilities, and the needs of the transportation professionals working to implement rural roadway safety policies, programs, and countermeasures. The parent TRB committees of the joint subcommittee are Transportation Safety Management and Low-Volume Roads.

The Center is led by Lee Munnich of the University of Minnesota's Humphrey School of Public Affairs. The Center for Transportation Studies, with staff leadership from Gina Baas, is collaborating with the Humphrey School to provide the Center's outreach and training services. Other partners include the School of Information Systems and Technology, (Claremont Graduate University, Claremont, California) and the New England Transportation Institute (White River Junction, Vermont).

Center for Excellence in Rural Safety | University of Minnesota | Minneapolis, MN 55455 | Location & Contact Information