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United States Department of Transportation United States Department of Transportation
OFFICE OF RESEARCH, DEVELOPMENT, AND TECHNOLOGY AT THE TURNER-FAIRBANK HIGHWAY RESEARCH CENTER

Intersection Safety

Background and Objectives

More than 50 percent of the combined total of fatal and injury crashes occur at or near intersections. The Federal Highway Administration’s (FHWA’s) intersection safety and design research facilitates the implementation of short-term safety improvements, and defines and evaluates long-term, higher payoff strategies to improve intersection safety.

Intersection safety and design research has led to the development and successful deployment of innovative intersection and interchange designs, including the modern roundabout, mini-roundabout, continuous flow intersections, restricted crossing U-turn intersections, and diverging diamond interchanges. Our current field studies include investigating the causation factors of traffic crashes at multilane roundabouts, evaluating different forms of protected intersection designs aimed at facilitating the safe movement of pedestrians and bicyclists at large intersections, and modular miniroundabouts made of recycled plastics for civilian, military, and disaster relief applications. We also conduct in-house study on multiple big datasets to explore driver behaviors at different types of intersections, and develop big data analytics and visualization tools that can identify high-crash locations, detect traffic incidents, and assess the societal impacts of traffic crashes. Starting in FY2022, we plan to initiate projects to study driver visual searching behaviors at alternative intersections/interchanges, explore concepts of tandem and corridor applications of different forms of alternative intersection designs, and investigate  utilizing edge computing platform in real time detection of traffic events and real time decision making to improve safety at signal controlled intersections.

FHWA will identify the most common and severe problems and compile information on the applications and design of innovative safety countermeasures at both signalized and non-signalized intersections and at interchanges. This initial effort should reveal strategic operational and research opportunities to further intersection safety.

Last updated: Thursday, August 26, 2021