Tribal Transformation Safety and Planning Program

Roadway Safety

Roadway safety is a particularly important issue for Native communities. Unfortunately, American Indian and Alaska Natives are killed or injured in vehicular accidents at much higher rates than other Americans. According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), two American Indians or Alaska Natives are killed in motor vehicle accidents nearly every day.

Strategies to develop and maintain safe roadways include a number of options that can range from relatively low-cost improvement projects (e.g., lane-striping, signage, rumble strips, or guardrails), driver safety and awareness education programs, increased law enforcement, and major construction projects. Many safety-related projects can be implemented through the use of Transportation Program Safety Funds that are administered through the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA).

California Tribes may be at a disadvantage when competing for road safety improvement funds due to relatively low population levels and the fewer number of roads associated with small Reservations and Rancherias. Inadequate funding along with road safety implementation methods associated with Public Law 280 have contributed to a roadway crash database that is inconsistent and often lacking for many parts of Indian Country. The lack of accurate crash data on or near Tribal lands hampers the ability of Tribal governments to obtain grant funding necessary to implement safety-related transportation improvements. 

NIJC administers three projects designed to address roadway safety on or near Tribal lands: the Tribal Transportation Safety Planning Project, the Tribal Road Safety Data Project, and the Tribal Injury Prevention Specialist Program.

Tribal Road Safety Data Project - UC Berkeley’s SafeTREC, FWHA –

Office of Traffic Safety

The Tribal Road Safety Data Project aims to improve how roadway crash data is collected on or near Tribal lands. The project will analyze roadway crash data collection methods and procedures, identify gaps in how roadway crash data is collected, and provide recommendations to improve roadway crash data collection throughout California Indian Country.

The U.C. Berkeley Safe Transportation Research and Education Center (SafeTREC) has developed an online tool that integrates crash data from the Statewide Integrated Traffic Records System (SWITRS) and BIA shapefiles. Tribes can use the online tool to obtain roadway crash safety data to support grant applications and the development of tribal transportation plans. In 2017, NIJC conducted three regional training workshops to assist Tribes in utilizing the online tool. For additional training in accessing the database, please contact the NIJC training coordinator at:

SafeTREC and the National Indian Justice Center (NIJC) Tribal Transportation Safety & Planning Program (TTSPP) invite you to participate in an online survey designed to identify gaps in how crash data is collected. The results of the survey may be used to generate future funding and assistance in Indian Country for the acquisition of equipment, training, software, and data collection, maintenance, and storage needs. 

Please help us with this important project by using the following link to complete the online survey:   
The first Tribal government representative from each tribe that completes the survey will be entered into a drawing to win one of the four Native Preserve, 17-ounce, stainless steel, insulated water bottles pictured below (retail value $25). 


All survey respondents will receive online access to the training manual and the final project report. For additional information, contact Joan Harper, the NIJC Transportation Planning Coordinator by email at: or by phone: 707 579-5507.

Tribal Injury Prevention Specialist Program

The Tribal Injury Prevention Specialist Program provides transportation safety information, training, and technical assistance to Tribal transportation agencies responsible for roadway safety. The Tribal Injury Prevention Specialist assists tribes and their partners in improving road safety in Indian Country. For additional information go to: