R&T Portfolio: Safety Design and Operations
The Federal Highway Administration’s (FHWA’s) safety design and operations research identifies improvements to physical infrastructure or traffic operations that can be used to reduce collisions. The program focuses on three critical areas identified as having the greatest potential to reduce highway fatalities with physical improvements: (1) roadway departure, (2) intersection crashes, and (3) pedestrian/bicycle crashes. Changes to the roadway can improve safety by reducing the user’s exposure to dangerous situations.
- Reduce intersection collisions resulting in fatalities and serious injuries.
- Identify geometric designs, especially intersection configurations, that improve safety outcomes for all roadway users.
- Develop physical infrastructure that mitigates the consequences of collisions or roadway departure incidents.
- Validate roadway safety strategies using data.
More than 50 percent of fatal and injury crashes occur at or near intersections. The 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.
Spotlight Project: Drivers Failing to Yield at Multilane Roundabout
Roundabouts reduce the occurrence of fatal and serious injury crashes by reducing the number of conflict points and vehicle speed. However, some new multilane roundabout sites see crash frequency increase. When drivers are unfamiliar with multilane roundabouts, conflicts between vehicles exiting from the inner lane and vehicles entering from the outer lane can occur. The Drivers Failing to Yield at Multilane Roundabout study aims to understand the prevailing traffic and design elements under which crashes tend to occur because of conflicts, and to develop countermeasures to prevent this type of collision in newly completed multilane roundabouts.
Image source: FHWA.
FHWA research in roadway departure crashes investigates how to modify infrastructure to reduce the rate or improve the outcome of roadway departure crashes. Roadway departure crashes result from crossing the center line or drifting past the shoulder and can be prevented or mitigated through improved highway design and infrastructure.
Spotlight Project: Focus on Reducing Rural Roadway Departures (FoRRRwD)
Roadway departures on the rural road network account for one-third of traffic fatalities. Systemic application of proven roadway departure countermeasures, such as rumble strips, friction treatments, and clear zones, helps keep vehicles in their travel lanes, reduce the potential for crashes, and reduce the severity of crashes that do occur. The FORRRwD initiative encourages agencies to address lane departures on all public roads.
Image source: FHWA.
To address the needs of connected and automated vehicles, FHWA is researching infrastructure design and operation practices, such as pavement markings, signs, and other traffic control devices, to improve vehicle behavior and reduce roadway departures.
Spotlight Project: Vehicle-to-Vehicle (V2V) Communications for Safety
The The V2V research will investigate key questions such as whether vehicle-based safety applications using V2V communications are effective and whether they have benefits.
Image source: ITS USDOT.
Office of Safety Research and Development
U.S. Department of Transportation
Federal Highway Administration
6300 Georgetown Pike
McLean, VA 22101