What is MTSA?



Clemson University’s Master of Transportation Safety and Administration (MTSA) is the first graduate program of its kind in the United States with a focus on the management and administration of road safety programs. The degree addresses the need for a road safety workforce capable of deploying evidence-based strategies and best practices supported by ongoing research.

Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of unintentional injuries and deaths both in the United States and worldwide.  Globally, there are 1.23 million road fatalities each year, with injuries sustained by 20 to 50 million more people.  In addition to the intangible costs of grief and suffering, traffic collisions are responsible for billions of dollars in economic loss worldwide.  With the continued high number of preventable motor vehicle traffic fatalities, injuries, and collisions that occur on roadways across the globe on a daily basis, it is imperative that we build the capacity of the road safety workforce of the future to address new and emerging technologies that can improve road safety. It is critical that those in the road safety workforce also understand cultural trends that have an impact on the development and implementation of various road safety strategies.  

Making all road systems safer must be a critical, worldwide priority. Newcomers to the transportation safety industry and seasoned professionals alike will make a difference in the lives of thousands, even millions of people in their communities, their states, their countries, and even our world with this innovative graduate degree. 

What makes MTSA unique?

Highway safety program administration and management is a highly interdisciplinary and multi-disciplinary field, including but not limited to behavioral safety programs, infrastructure safety programs (traffic safety engineering), enforcement, emergency management services, education, planning and design, public health, communications and marketing, public policy, driver and vehicle services, finance, etc. The curriculum necessary for this field utilizes Clemson University’s faculty expertise across multiple departments and colleges, with courses modified for a specific focus on road safety and high-quality online delivery. In addition, core courses have been specifically designed for the degree.

This unique graduate degree program is a two-year, non-thesis, 30-credit-hour, online interdisciplinary transportation (road) safety curriculum designed to develop professionals skilled at administering and managing road safety programs involving the complex interactions of the human-vehicle-road system. 

Who are prospective MTSA students?

The MTSA degree specifically targets the needs of current employees of State Highway Safety Offices; State DOT’s (Traffic Engineering, Highway Safety Improvement Program, Planning, Safe Routes to School, etc.); the private sector (both US and international corporations involved in road safety); road safety advocacy groups; safety-related non-profit organizations and professional associations; and government agencies with responsibilities for road safety at the local, regional, state, and federal levels, both in the US and internationally.  The program is designed for professionals already involved in road safety who wish to obtain an advanced degree that will enhance their skills, as well as for those who want to pursue a career in road safety.

While progress has been made to reduce roadway deaths and injuries worldwide, MTSA students will benefit from new and innovative opportunities to become even more skilled in evidence-based programming and develop a deeper understanding of government at its various levels.  MTSA students will also gain critical knowledge and insight about traffic safety culture, traffic safety engineering, the public policy process, safety data and new statistical methods, strategic planning, effective communications and marketing strategies, public health models for injury prevention, the latest enforcement strategies, and a myriad of other issues that impact the effectiveness of road safety programs.

MTSA students will come from such organizations as the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) and its various agencies (such as the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), and the Federal Transit Administration); the Centers for Disease Control (CDC); state and local Departments of Transportation (DOTs); State Highway Safety Offices (SHSO’s); State Injury Prevention Offices; State Highway Patrols and local law enforcement agencies responsible for traffic law enforcement; State Driver and Vehicle Services agencies; Metropolitan Planning Organizations and Regional Councils of Government; State Emergency Medical Services/Emergency Response; safety advocacy groups such as MADD National and Safe Kids; road safety-related research institutes; professional associations such as the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO), the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA), the Institute of Transportation Engineers (ITE), the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA); and other national, state, and local transportation-related groups.  We are also anticipating that we will have similar professionals enroll in the MTSA program from other countries in which transportation safety is a significant issue.

MTSA incorporates all the disciplines involved in road safety, including both the behavioral and infrastructure sides of safety.  MTSA students are expected to represent education, enforcement, emergency response, engineering, research and evaluation, public policy, public health and injury prevention, driver and vehicle services, alcohol and drug prevention, communications and marketing, transportation safety planning, and transportation finance and grants administration—all the many disciplines that must work collaboratively to achieve success in efforts to reduce traffic crashes, injuries, and fatalities. 

Who should consider enrolling in the MTSA program?

Anyone who spends all or most of their workday on matters pertaining directly to road safety, such as assessing safety performance; planning, developing, and implementing safety initiatives; and taking specific actions related to safety should consider enrolling.   

Examples of prospective MTSA students may include but are not limited to:

  • Directors and staff members of State Highway Safety Offices
  • Safety program educators
  • Law enforcement supervisors and senior management personnel that direct or coordinate traffic safety enforcement programs at a local, state, or national level; law enforcement officers working in traffic divisions or traffic enforcement
  • Marketing and communications specialists that develop and administer safety campaigns
  • Traffic safety engineers
  • Safety data analysts and researchers
  • Safety program developers and evaluators
  • Public health and injury prevention specialists
  • Driver and vehicle services administrators
  • Transportation safety planners
  • Alcohol and drug prevention specialists
  • Staff of safety-related legislative committees
  • Project managers and administrators of safety programs at various levels of government
  • College graduates that wish to pursue a career in road safety