Chapter 1: Introduction

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Section 1: Overview

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Purpose of Manual

The purpose of this manual is to establish program and project management procedures for subgrants and contracts in support of the Texas Traffic Safety Program. This manual does not, however, address all Traffic Safety Program regulations in regard to program content or other technical criteria. Occasional references to other Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) functional manuals are also necessary.

The Traffic Operations Division (TRF) will review this manual on an annual basis to ensure that procedures remain current and accurate. Revisions will be made as soon as possible to accommodate any changes in state or federal laws or regulations.

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Users of Manual

This manual is intended for use by TxDOT personnel, state and local government officials, subgrantees and contractors, researchers, and any others interested in procedures in support of the Texas Traffic Safety Program.

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Definition of Subgrantee

Unless otherwise indicated, all references to “grants” in this manual include both traffic safety grants and Interagency Cooperation Contracts (IACs). Likewise, all references to “subgrantees” include recipients of both traffic safety grants and IACs.

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Availability of Manual

Online. This manual is available online through the TxDOT intranet at: http://gsd-ultraseek/txdotmanuals/tfc/index.htm

and on the Internet at: http://onlinemanuals.txdot.gov/txdotmanuals/tfc/index.htm.

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Electronic Documents and Forms (eGrants)

In keeping with TxDOT’s overall move toward electronic documents and forms, the TxDOT Traffic Operations Division-Traffic Safety Section (TRF-TS) has developed this manual and related forms in conjunction with the Texas Traffic Safety Program so that the appropriate information can be entered and submitted electronically through the TxDOT Traffic Safety Electronic Grants Management System (eGrants).

The eGrants system is a web-based solution for the application, scoring, and ongoing management of the grants within the Texas Traffic Safety Program. The system allows users to create and submit grant proposals, manage grant projects, and submit Performance Reports and Requests for Reimbursement (RFRs) electronically for TxDOT review and approval.

The benefits of the features provided by eGrants are presented below.

  • Flexibility & Modularization. The eGrants system provides the ability to support multiple subgrantees, multiple program types and multiple grant programs in different divisions of TxDOT by implementing independent templates, business flows, profiles, etc. that leverage a single underlying platform.
  • Role-based Security. eGrants provides a role-based security and encryption facility that allows all levels of access to administrators, peer reviewers, and end users while protecting sensitive data from unauthorized access.
  • Integrated Reporting. The system provides the ability for the generation of all required reports.
  • Wide User Base. A user-friendly system is provided that will be used by staff, subgrantees and other customers (i.e. state and federal agencies).
  • Consistent User Interface. eGrants provides a more efficient and consistent format, making the grant process easier for staff and subgrantees.
  • Framework for Information (Electronic File of Record). The system provides a framework to manage and collect information in a centralized relational database with data accessible through commonly available technology, such as web browsers.
  • Reduction of Paperwork / Data Entry. eGrants effectively reduces or eliminates the need for duplicate data entry, mailing, distribution, and storage of mass amounts of hardcopy documentation.
  • Increased Accuracy of Data. The system applies business rules, automatic error checking and automatic calculations.
  • Better communication. Improved communication is provided via e-mail notification, system messages, and online notes and comments.

Wherever this manual requires grant-related submissions of documents to TRF “in writing” or “ in written form,” these submissions may also be made via e-mail or through the eGrants system.

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Mission Statement

The mission of the Texas Traffic Safety Program is to identify traffic safety problem areas and implement programs to reduce the number and severity of vehicular crashes through the statewide traffic safety program.

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Program Goal and Objective

The goal of the Texas Traffic Safety Program is to use information, data, technology, resources, and skills to identify priority traffic safety issues, plan initiatives, generate coordinated action, and evaluate and communicate results. The program objective is to operate the program in a manner that reduces crashes, injuries, deaths, and their related losses.

For additional information on the Texas Traffic Safety Program, see: https://www.txdot.gov/apps/eGrants/eGrantsHelp/rfp.html.

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Funding

The Texas Traffic Safety Program uses federal, state and local funds. Federal traffic safety funds are primarily administered and distributed to the states by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

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Organization

TxDOT is a decentralized organization operating through 25 district offices and a division support structure at the Austin headquarters offices. The Texas Traffic Safety Program is administered by the Traffic Safety Section (TS) of the Traffic Operations Division (TRF) in Austin.

Within TRF, there are 19 Traffic Safety Specialists (TSSs) that are located in the districts. These TSSs coordinate and manage the Texas Traffic Safety Program at the local (district) level with direction and guidance from TRF in Austin. The Texas Transportation Commission renews this delegation of authority annually by the approval of the state Highway Safety Performance Plan (HSPP).

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Responsibilities

The TxDOT Traffic Operations Division (TRF) is responsible for coordinating and administering the Texas Traffic Safety Program. To carry out these responsibilities, TRF will:

  • develop and administer the annual State Highway Safety Performance Plan (HSPP) and Highway Safety Improvement Program (HSIP)
  • manage traffic safety projects in federally designated priority program areas and in other areas as may be assigned or as determined by problem identification processes
  • provide oversight to districts and assist them in the development and implementation of traffic safety projects at the local level
  • develop statewide traffic safety policies and procedures using district, division, and other input
  • communicate and coordinate activities with the districts
  • provide state agency and federal liaisons
  • ensure compliance with state and federal regulations
  • administer traffic safety evaluation and research
  • provide legislative information on traffic safety issues
  • review, approve, and execute grants, contracts, and subcontracts
  • approve subcontracts or process them for federal approval
  • provide operational oversight to assure conformity with program and project management policies and procedures
  • monitor the activities, results, and expenditures of approved state agency grant agreements and interagency contracts
  • implement and maintain an internal project monitoring system
  • close out traffic safety project and program areas, as appropriate
  • report to the governor’s highway safety representative and federal oversight agencies on the status of traffic safety projects
  • prepare and submit an Annual Report to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

The TxDOT TRF Traffic Safety Specialists (TSSs) located in the districts are responsible for planning and implementing local traffic safety projects and working as part of TRF to ensure local participation in the statewide program. To carry out these responsibilities, the TSSs will:

  • assist in the development and submission of the State Highway Safety Performance Plan (HSPP)
  • develop traffic safety agreements with local political subdivisions and highway safety improvement projects that correct or improve high-hazard locations
  • monitor the activities, results, and expenditures of approved local projects and highway safety improvement projects based on their agreements
  • maintain an accurate listing of accountable equipment and property purchased with federal funds
  • assist potential grant recipients in project proposal development
  • negotiate and prepare grant agreements
  • process, administer, and monitor the grants
  • process and recommend for approval RFRs
  • review and approve Performance Reports
  • close out grants at the local level once all activity has ended
  • provide information regarding local activities as may be required or requested by the state or federal grantor agency
  • assist in the development, implementation, and monitoring of statewide projects and activities, such as procedures development, needs assessments, and public education campaigns
  • represent TxDOT at various state and local committee and task force meetings.
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Titles and Office Designations

This manual uses the following titles and abbreviations to designate individuals and offices involved in the Texas Traffic Safety Program:

Program Manager

Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) Traffic Operations Division (TRF) staff person responsible for managing grants in one or more program areas.

Project Manager

a Traffic Safety Specialist (TSS) or other traffic safety staff person responsible for managing local project grant agreements.

Project Director

a subgrantee or contract person responsible for the oversight and management of a project operating through a traffic safety grant agreement or Interagency Cooperation Contract (IAC).

TxDOT

the Texas Department of Transportation (also referred to as “the department”).

TRF

the Traffic Operations Division of the Texas Department of Transportation.

TRF-TS

the Traffic Safety Section within the TxDOT Traffic Operations Division.

TSS

a Traffic Safety Specialist (TSS), designated within a TxDOT district (for phone numbers, see the TRF TSS List).



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