February 28th, 2011

SCIENCE AND SAFETY MERGE

Uncategorized, by Catherine Higgins.

A new manual presents a science-based approach to selecting the right highway safety improvements.

Southbound I-15

The American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) has compiled crash data collected through a decade of research to take “the guesswork out of safety analysis.” The new approach provides a road map to help transportation professionals make the best safety choices during design, construction and maintenance of roadways.

Robert Hull shows copies of a new manual that outlines a science-based approach to highway safety.

Data collection started with a Transportation Research Board project. As that process concluded, ASSHTO took over the effort to develop a manual by assembling a joint task force with members from many states. Those experts worked together to present findings in a way “practitioners could use and understand,” says Robert Hull, UDOT’s top Traffic and Safety Engineer.

An award-winning seasoned practitioner himself, Hull contributed to development of the manual as a member of that joint task force. Collectively, task force members represented the specialized work areas of safety, traffic engineering and design.

“The key outcome is the ability to quantify from a crash number perspective,” says Hull. He is now heading development of UDOT-specific training and working to integrate the new method to “improve existing processes.”

By using crash data collected from before and after studies, engineers have more effective ways to:

  • Evaluate the features of a roadway
  • Identify locations that could benefit from safety improvements.
  • Compare safety improvements and select the best solution for a specific location.
Rumble stripes, a safety feature on U.S. 6: Noise produced when car tires hit the stripe alerts the driver that the vehicle is crossing into oncoming traffic.

For more about UDOT’s focus on safety, visit the Zero Fatalities website.

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