The goal of the Highway Safety Information System (HSIS) Student Research Paper Competition is to encourage university students to use HSIS data with the intent of introducing potential future highway safety professionals to good quality safety data; the application of appropriate research methods to derive recommendations; and the practice of using data to make decisions.



The HSIS Research Paper Competition is open to undergraduate and graduate students in degree- granting programs that support highway safety, including — but not limited to — engineering, planning, statistics, psychology, and economics. Participants who have graduated from a program within the six months prior to the submission date are also eligible if the paper is based on work conducted as part of the program.

Applicant(s) must be enrolled as a graduate or undergraduate student in the 2022–2023 academic year or graduated from a university located in the U.S. during the 2022–2023 academic year. (Faculty can advise but cannot co-author.)

Analysis must be conducted on data requested and acquired from the Highway Safety Information System ( Data from other states or localities may be used in support of the primary analysis using HSIS data.

Submissions by individual students or groups of students will be considered. Teams, however, must define one lead student and contributing students for the project. (Prizes reflect this requirement.) Faculty can participate in an advisory role but cannot be co-authors on the paper.

Note: The turnaround time for requested HSIS data,, is normally less than two weeks; however, time needed to conduct analysis of this data varies per project. Please be sure to plan accordingly and in advance of the paper submission deadline.

All prizes including travel reimbursements – are subject to FHWA rules, regulations and approval at time of award.


Selection Process

A 2,500- to 5,000-word paper documenting original research must be completed and submitted along with the application no later than March 1, 2023.


Judging Criteria

  • Objective of paper and emphasis on safety. (10 points)

Is the objective of the paper clearly stated and relevant to the safety community? For example, using the HSIS data to model the impacts of signal spacing on capacity does not have an emphasis on safety. However, using the HSIS data to model the impact of signal spacing on crashes is a more appropriate topic.

  • Importance of HSIS data to paper topic. (20 points)

Was the use of HSIS data critical to achieving the objective of the paper? The paper should focus on the use of the HSIS and how critical it is in completing the objective of the study. HSIS data can be used in conjunction with other data sources and linked together.

  • Soundness of methodology. (20 points)

Is the approach appropriate for the data? The paper should describe and use appropriate data analysis techniques that suit the objectives.

  • Analysis of HSIS data. (40 points)

Was the analysis of the HSIS data specifically, correctly, and clearly conducted? The paper should analyze the HSIS data using the proposed statistical analysis techniques. Please also explain the details of the HSIS data (i.e., how it was obtained, how it was used, and why it was necessary for the analysis). 

  • Discussion of results. (10 points)

Were the results discussed appropriately? The specific findings of the analysis are not part of the evaluation criteria, as the evaluation instead focuses on the discussion of the results. For example, if a study on signal spacing found no effect on crashes, this will not affect the evaluation of the paper. The student should discuss the implications of the results, including a critical review of the methodology and the potential for future research.



Award Prizes

1st Place

2nd Place

3rd Place

Cash Prize – Each lead author of a winning team will receive a cash prize (1st place: $1,000; 2nd place: $500; 3rd place: $250 United States dollars).




Recognition at the ITE International Annual Meeting and Exhibition August 13-16, 2023, in Portland, OR. All authors will be acknowledged, and each lead author of a winning team will receive a plaque.




Registration to attend the ITE International Annual Meeting and Exhibition August 13-16, 2023, in Portland, OR, will be provided to the lead author only.




Lodging (2 nights) will be provided for the lead authors of the 1st and 2nd place winning teams to attend the ITE International Annual Meeting and Exhibition August 13-16, 2023, in Portland, OR.




Roundtrip, domestic airfare will be provided for the lead author of the 1st place winning team to attend the ITE International Annual Meeting and Exhibition August 13-16, 2023, in Portland, OR.




Paper will be published in ITE Journal and/or on the HSIS website.