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U.S. Department of Transportation U.S. Department of Transportation Icon United States Department of Transportation United States Department of Transportation
FHWA Highway Safety Programs

Friction Management

The main purpose of a pavement friction management program is to minimize friction-related vehicle crashes by:

  • Ensuring that new pavement surfaces are designed, constructed, and maintained to provide adequate and durable friction properties;
  • Identifying and correcting sections of roadway that have elevated friction-related crash rates;
  • Prioritizing the use of resources to reduce friction-related vehicle crashes in a cost-effective manner; and
  • Effectively collecting and analyzing pavement friction, crash, and traffic data to reduce friction-related crashes.

Current Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) policies regarding pavement are as follows:

  • The FHWA pavement policy indicates that States shall design pavement to accommodate current and predicted traffic needs in a safe, durable, and cost effective manner.
  • The FHWA policy related to the Highway Safety Improvement Program (HSIP) indicates that each State shall incorporate a process for analyzing available safety data that identifies highway safety improvement projects on the basis of crash experience, crash potential, or other data supported means.
  • Pavement friction management includes providing surfaces with adequate and durable friction properties as well as collecting data and performing analysis to ensure the effectiveness of the program.


The Pavement Friction Management Technical Advisory (T 5040.38) issued by FHWA on June 17, 2010, provides guidance to State and local highway agencies on managing pavement surface friction. The 2010 advisory supersedes the 1980 FHWA Technical Advisory 5040.17, Skid Accident Reduction Program.

The technical advisory covers topics such as:

  • Test equipment for measuring pavement friction;
  • The identification and classification of roadway locations with elevated crash rates;
  • How to prioritize projects for improving pavement friction;
  • The appropriate frequency and extent of friction testing on a highway network; and
  • How to determine a pavement friction management program's effectiveness.

Additional reference materials on pavement friction management techniques and friction measurement are highlighted as well.

What's New

Publication – Pavement Friction Management Program Utilizing Continuous Friction Measurement Equipment and State-of-the-practice Safety Analysis Demonstration Project – Final Report 2019 (PDF, 4.76 mb) or you can access the report on this link pub_details.cfm?id=1128