National Park Service Safety Agreement (1999)



The purpose of this Program Agreement (PA) between the National Park Service (NPS) and the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) is to establish the general framework for cooperatively developing and implementing a highway safety program that will reduce the number of traffic accidents, fatalities, injuries and property damage resulting therefrom, on park roads and parkways.


National Park Service Goals:

Four mission goals are identified in the NPS' Strategic Plan 1997-2002. These mission goals articulate the ideals that the NPS is striving to attain for perpetuity, thereby enabling them to focus and align their activities, core processes and resources to support mission related outcomes. In accordance with the Government Performance and Results Act, the NPS has used the mission goals as the framework for establishing performance management of the NPS. This program agreement supports the fulfillment of portions of the mission goals including visitor satisfaction, visitor safety and ensuring organizational effectiveness.

Park Roads and Parkways (PRP) Program:

The Surface Transportation Assistance Act (STAA) of 1982 established the PRP funding category under the Federal Lands Highway Program. In 1983, an Interagency Agreement between the NPS and FHWA was executed to implement the PRP program as required in the STAA. The PRP program is jointly administered by the NPS and FHWA. The purpose of the PRP program is to develop a safe and adequate national park transportation system, including park roads, parkways and transit systems, which provides access for the protection, use and enjoyment of the National Park System areas.

Department of Transportation (DOT) and FHWA Safety Strategies:

Five strategic goals are identified in the DOT's Strategic Plan 1997-2002. These strategic goals sharpen the focus of the DOT's mission to ensure that the United States (U.S.) has a fast, safe, efficient, accessible, and convenient transportation system that meets the Nation's vital interests and enhances the quality of life of the American people. Of the five strategic goals, safety is the.highest priority. The DOT provides leadership in transportation safety by undertaking coordinated activities intended to reduce or eliminate transportation related incidents and the resulting deaths, injuries, and property damage.

The FHWA's 1998 National Strategic Plan has five strategic goals to accomplish its mission of continually improving the quality of our Nation's highway system and its intermodal connections. As in the DOT plan, safety is the FHWA's highest priority strategic goal. More than 40,000 Americans die, and 3 million are injured in motor vehicle crashes on U.S. highways each year. The FHWA's strategic objective for safety is to achieve a 20 percent reduction in the number of highway-related fatalities and serious injuries in 10 years. Ensuring that it is safe to travel on the highways is a guiding principle throughout all of the FHWA's programs and activities.


The Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century reinforced the need for proactive highway safety programs on federally-owned lands as follows:

Title 23 U.S.C. Section 204 requires the development of transportation planning tools to assist the Departments of the Interior and Transportation in managing the Federal Lands Highway Program. Paragraph (a)(6) states that "The Secretary and the Secretary of each appropriate Federal land management agency shall, to the extent appropriate, develop by rule safety . . . management systems for roads funded under the Federal lands highways program."

Title 23 U.S.C. Section 402 states that the highway safety program guidelines promulgated by the Secretary of Transportation shall, to the extent determined appropriate by the Secretary, be applicable to federally-administered areas where a Federal department or agency controls the highways or supervises traffic operations.


The Secretaries of the Departments of Interior and Transportation are committed to improving highway safety. To support this commitment, the NPS and FHWA agree that it is beneficial for the NPS to implement a highway safety program. The program is to include, but is not limited to, enhancing safety on park roads and parkways through:

  • Early consideration of safety in all highway programs and projects;
  • The identification and investigation of hazardous locations and features, and establishing countermeasures and priorities to systematically correct the identified or potential hazards;
  • Incorporating safety improvements in all highway projects; and
  • Upgrading safety hardware, highway elements, and operational features to current standards.


This PA is a coordinated activity, building on the existing partnership between the NPS and the FHWA, to fully integrate safety as a basic business principle in all activities jointly undertaken by these agencies. The goal of this PA is to protect all who visit, travel, work, and live on national park lands by developing and implementing a highway safety program. The highway safety program will assist the NPS and FHWA in prioritizing and programming highway safety improvement programs and projects.

Funding and Staffing

Title 23 U.S.C. Section 204 funding will be made available on an annual basis to operate the highway safety program. Each agency will allocate sufficient staffing to accomplish the program.

National Park Service's Responsibilities

The NPS will be responsible for:

  • Jointly developing, with the FHWA, a highway safety program that incorporates appropriate portions of 23 U.S.C. Section 402, and establishes a safety management system as required by 23 U.S.C. Section 204;
  • Implementing and administering the highway safety program; and
  • Developing annual safety reports.

Federal Highway Administration's Responsibilities

The FHWA will be responsible for:

  • Jointly developing, with the NPS, the highway safety program; and
  • Providing assistance in implementing and administering the highway safety program.

We the undersigned hereby agree to the preceding terms and conditions and enter into this Program Agreement this 7th day of July, 1999.

Original signed by:
Associate Director
Park Operations and Education
National Park Service
U.S. Department of the Interior
Original signed by:
Program Manager
Federal Lands Highway
Federal Highway Administration
U.S. Department of Transportation