Road Safety Professional Certification (RSP)

Contributed by: Priscilla A. Tobias, P.E.; Arora and Associates, P.C.; Illinois Operations Manager

Roadway safety is a complex issue that involves the consideration of human behavior, vehicle type, road design and operations, the interaction between different types of road users as well as with the roadway itself, and ultimately, emergency medical services. Over the past two decades significant advancements have been made in the state of practice for roadway safety due to evolving research and technology, increased implementation of evidence-based knowledge in programs to reduce traffic related fatalities and serious injuries, and initiatives such as Towards Zero Deaths (TZD) and Vision Zero.

Advancements in safety have led to increasing emphasis being placed on consideration of safety in all aspects of transportation management, making roadway safety an explicit part of a transportation professional’s routine tasks. This is further demonstrated with Highway safety analysis (e.g., HSM methods, CMF applications, etc.) now being included as part of the Professional Engineer (P.E) Exam. With this, the need to recognize roadway safety as a distinct discipline became evident. In 2016, the Transportation Professional Certification Board (TPCB) began efforts to develop a Road Safety Professional Certification (RSP). This effort has been supported by a broad cross-section of transportation and safety organizations from the United States and Canada.

The RSP Certification provides two levels of certification. RSP Level 1 is designed to demonstrate expertise in road safety’s multi-disciplinary dimensions and is intended for any professional who makes decisions or takes actions that potentially impact the safety of the traveling public. RSP Level 2 is a higher-level certification with two separate distinct disciplines for certification: Infrastructure Safety and Behavior Safety and targets those individuals whose primary job functions are directed to improving road safety performance.

Road scene showing pedestrian in dedicated bicycle pedestrian lanes plus speed warning sign and roundabout signA group of highly qualified US and Canadian subject matter experts with expertise in all aspects of road safety and experience at all levels of government developed the RSP Level 1 and Level 2. The first exam for Level 1 was held in October 2018 and to date nearly 250 individuals have been certified for RSP Level 1. The first Level 2 exams will be available to take in October 2019.

The RSP Level 1 exam is qualitative and includes topics such as Foundations of Road Safety, Measuring Safety, Human Behavior and Road Safety, Solving Safety Problems, and Implementing Road Safety Programs.

The Level 2 has two specialty areas, Infrastructure and Behavior, from which to choose and the exam is both quantitative and qualitative. Topics that are covered in both specialty areas include Fundamentals, Road Safety Management, Target Crashes and Countermeasures, and Addressing Safety Problems with Public Policy (Law, Regulations, Policies, and Standards).  The RSP Level 2 – Infrastructure exam includes the additional items: Acquiring and Using Safety Data, Crash Prediction and Trend Interpretation, Multimodal Transportation Safety, and Safe System and Vision Zero Approaches.  The RSP 2 – Behavior exam includes the additional items: Safety Data and Analysis, Human Health and Transportation Modes, Public Health and Transportation Safety, Strategic Safety Planning, and Safe Systems Approaches.

The RSP certification demonstrates how far we have advanced in the field of safety. It recognizes safety as its own discipline and establishes a minimum level of knowledge based on the current state of practice; encourages professional development and growth by introducing newer concepts; and creates an environment for universities to expand their curriculum to produce graduates that are proficient in the field of safety.  Additional information regarding applications, test dates, and refresher courses can be found at