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Recent U.S. Research on Safety Evaluation of Low-Cost Road Engineering Safety Countermeasures – Lessons for Canada


This paper synthesizes results to date and assesses relevance to the Canadian context for the Federal High Administration’s (FHWA’s) “Evaluation of Low Cost Safety Improvements Pooled Fund Study” (ELCSI-PFS, The FHWA has organized the ELCSI-PFS, involving 28 States, to evaluate low-cost safety strategies as part of the Strategic Highway Safety Plan developed by the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) Standing Committee on Highway Traffic Safety. The purpose of the Pooled Fund Study is to evaluate the safety effectiveness of tried and experimental priority low-cost safety strategies through scientifically rigorous crash-based or simulation-based studies, and develop Crash Reduction Factors and benefit/cost ratios for nationwide applications of these low cost strategies. Currently, this PFS has six phases, each involving evaluations of four to six strategies. Based on inputs from the Pooled Fund Study Technical Advisory Committee and the availability of data, crash based evaluations have been recently conducted, or are underway, for a number of strategies, including signing enhancements to improve curve delineation, flashing beacons, stop ahead warning signs, offset left turn lanes, two-way left turn lanes, and increased retro-reflectivity stop signs. Simulator-based studies have been conducted for two sets of low-cost countermeasures for two-lane rural roads: nighttime delineation for curves, and traffic calming for small towns. The current phase of the study involves “build to evaluate” projects in which prospective evaluations are being considered for treatments such as surface friction treatments for curves and ramps, in-lane pavement marking for curve warning, enforcement lights (These are auxiliary lights connected to a traffic-control signal to help law enforcement officers identify when drivers violate the red phase of the signal.), edge line rumble stripes and large chevron signs. The next phase, starting Fall 2010, is also “build to evaluate”, and will potentially evaluate intersection multi‐strategy improvements, yield to pedestrian channelizing devices, centerline rumble strips and edge-line or shoulder rumble strips for 4-foot (1.2-m) shoulders with emphasis on curves, guardrail and/or median barriers (including guardrail on interstates and cable median barrier with rumble strips).

Conference Paper Details

Session title:
Bhagwant Persaud
Kimberley Eccles
Roya Amjadi
Road safety