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FHWA Highway Safety Programs



The majority of fatal crashes in the United States involve roadway departures; nearly half of these crashes involve a fixed object, two-thirds of which are roadside trees and utility poles. Such an overrepresentation suggests that properly managing trees and utility poles will reduce fatal crashes.

While this management has proven to be elusive on a national scale, there are a number of noteworthy management practices being accomplished by individual State, County and a public-private partnership throughout the United States.

These practices represent a variety of purposes and scopes for managing trees and utility poles that are already in place and may assist practitioners in handling similar situations within their jurisdictions. There are far more opportunities to manage the safety of these roadside elements if practitioners are able to influence the design before landscaping or utilities are installed.

Until more comprehensive research is performed in this area, the proven practices described within this report can be deployed on a smaller scale and tailored to fit individual agency needs.