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Safety R&D Overview

Research Focus Areas

The research focus areas and objectives of the Safety R&D program reflect current Federal Highway Administration strategic focuses.

Safety Data and Analysis — Support safety resource allocation decisions through consistent high-quality data collection and analysis and analytical tool development, and evaluate safety improvements.

Human Factors — Examine drivers’ capabilities and limitations when interacting with the vehicle and the roadway to inform better roadway design. Other research topics include distraction, older drivers, traffic management centers, and the effects of changes in visibility.

Intersection Safety — Increase our understanding of intersection safety, and establishing short- and long-term strategies for safety improvements. The research involves designing and evaluating nontraditional intersections and interchanges and developing systems to improve safety in or near intersections. This research effort also explores advanced computing technologies such as edge computing for real time detection of traffic events and real time decision making for improving safety starting with signalized controlled intersections.

Pedestrians and Bicyclists Safety — Foster professional awareness of pedestrian and bicyclist safety issues, develop and evaluate countermeasures, and provide engineering resources for practitioners at national, State, and local levels.

Roadway Safety — Conduct research that emphasizes two fundamental objectives: keeping vehicles on the roadway and minimizing the consequences of leaving the roadway. Roadway safety studies are conducted in five focus areas: roadway departure, speed management, intersection, safety and design, visibility, and intelligent transportation systems (ITS).

Speed Management — Research to develop and test engineering approaches to speed management and to encourage wider adoption of travel speeds appropriate for the class of road, roadway design, and travel conditions.

Visibility — Research to improve visibility on and along the roadway, and of traffic control devices.

Research Areas