Credit: Photo: Pam Broviak

Local agencies can access LTAP centers for resources related to rural road safety. One such resource is a study performed for the Minnesota DOT, which found that the installation of street lighting at isolated rural intersections reduced nighttime crash frequency by 27% and crash severity by 20%.

Credit: Photo: Pam Broviak

Above: This van and instructor, Kathy Schaefer, travel around Minnesota bringing onsite technical assistance to local agencies as part of the Minnesota LTAP's Circuit Training and Assistance Program. Photo: Minnesota LTAP. Right: According to a recent GAO report on highway safety, the nation's road system consists of 3.9 million miles. Of this total, rural roads account for about 3 million miles—or about 77%. Local agencies have jurisdiction over 2.1 million miles of all rural roads.
Providing Additional Resources

Several LTAP centers provide software applications to local agencies. One such program is the Interactive Highway Safety Design Model, accessed through a link on the Ohio LTAP Web site. This software helps agencies evaluate safety and operational effects of geometric design decisions on two-lane rural highways; it can be downloaded free of charge. Product registration, user manuals, and technical support also are available.

But some public works employees may not have time to visit Web sites, read publications, and watch videotapes. For them, the Maine LTAP provides an alternate solution: onsite assistance and consulting directly to local towns through the services of Phil Curtis, a local consultant hired by LTAP. Maine's “Road Ranger” will visit with the public works department at the garage or on a jobsite. He answers public-works related questions, teaches workshops, and is available to meet with local committees and elected officials.

There are numerous resources available through a network of LTAP centers, and with a center located in each state, local agencies don't need to look far for assistance. “Generally when we get requests for information from out-of-state local agencies we try to refer them to their state's LTAP center; a LTAP center from the same state as the local agency will know best how the requested information relates to the local agency,” said Tim Colling, P.E., assistant director for the Michigan LTAP center. “That being said, all of the LTAP centers work together in the end, so if another center needs a resource we have, we will gladly send them the material we have.”

Still, chances are that Phil the “Road Ranger” is unlikely to show up at public works garages run by local agencies outside of Maine.

A comprehensive list of Web sites and contact information for each LTAP can be found site also provides additional resources on rural roads through the “Resources” link.

What is LTAP?

The Federal Highway Administration defines the Local Technical Assistance Program (LTAP) as the primary transportation information resource for local and tribal governments. In accomplishing this goal, LTAP provides access to technical assistance, training, and information on new transportation technologies. Technology transfer activities are made available through a variety of projects including services provided by a network of 57 LTAP centers located in each state, Puerto Rico, and six Tribal Technical Assistance Programs (TTAP).

The federal government pays 50% of the annual funding for LTAP centers up to $110,000, and 50% or more matching funds are obtained from state, university, and local funds. Monies also come from contributed resources and services, training funds, statewide planning and research funds, and safety funds. Tribal LTAP centers are 100% federally funded.

Each center's director has the flexibility to tailor the program to local needs. Responsibilities include conducting training, delivering technical assistance, and publishing newsletters. Centers adapt a mix of technology transfer and marketing tools to meet their localities' unique circumstances.