U.S. Department of Transportation
Federal Highway Administration
1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
Washington, DC 20590
Document No. FHWA-SA-15-044
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August 5-6, 2014
This report summarizes the Focus State Roadway Departure Safety Plans and High Friction Surface Treatments Peer Exchange, held in Birmingham, Alabama, sponsored by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) Office of Safety's Roadway Safety Professional Capacity Building Program.
On August 5 and 6, 2014, the FHWA Office of Safety and FHWA Resource Center convened representatives from seven States: Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Missouri. The purpose of this event was to facilitate the exchange of information between States regarding approaches to roadway departure (RwD) safety, including implementation of RwD Focus State Implementation Plans and High Friction Surface Treatments (HFST). The event consisted of a combination of presentations and facilitated discussions on rumble strips and stripes, curve delineation, HFST, and RwD Safety Implementation Plans. Refer to Appendix A for the content and agenda of the virtual peer exchange.
To encourage discussion, facilitators organized a SWOT Scramble, where participants provided their observations on the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats related to the three countermeasures discussed. Discussion themes included: the use of a systemic approach to assess and identify horizontal curve projects; technical challenges associated with HFST applications; and differences in State rumble strip policies.
Missouri Department of Transportation Presentation
Missouri DOT (MODOT) uses centerline and edge line rumble strips on all major two-lane roads. This presentation described the effectiveness of this policy and highlighted other common safety countermeasures used to prevent and mitigate roadway departure crashes in Missouri, including the use of HFST at high risk curves and the use of median guard cable on interstates. Because MODOT is decentralized, the agency faces challenges in implementing uniform systemic safety strategies—however, MODOT's performance management system creates accountability for safety performance at the district level.
Following the presentation by MODOT, peer exchange participants had a wide-ranging discussion concerning the application of different types, widths and placements of rumble strips, and differences in State rumble strip policies. The following themes emerged:
In response to some of the issues raised in the discussion, FHWA experts advised participants that the most significant safety impacts occur when centerline and shoulder rumble strips are used in conjunction. The use of centerline rumble strips in passing zones should not be a problem from a safety perspective. Milling a rumble strip into a pavement joint does not accelerate pavement deterioration.
Participants made the following suggestions for FHWA research and support:
Rumbles SWOT Scramble Results
Participants shared their observations on the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats related to rumble strips and stripes.
Participants discussed various policies and strategies used to delineate curves, including signage and pavement markings. The discussion included the following themes:
Delineation SWOT Scramble Results
Participants commented on the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats related to delineation.
Georgia Department of Transportation Presentation on HFST
A representative from Georgia DOT gave a presentation on strategies for implementing HFST. Following a successful pilot project, Georgia DOT plans to let a contract to apply HFST at high risk curves on a district-wide basis. To determine where to apply HFST, Georgia DOT reviewed crash data to rank curves by severity and frequency of roadway departure crashes. Georgia DOT then assessed those curves using a ball bank indicator to set advisory speeds and determine where to apply HFST. Georgia DOT also refined its contract specifications for installation of HFST, updating their language on quality acceptance to include pre-installation testing, contractor testing, and agency verification testing.
HFST Roundtable Discussion
Participants discussed HFST implementation. The following themes were discussed:
HFST SWOT Scramble Results
Participants discussed the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats related to HFST.
FHWA Safety Data Analysis and Focus State Criteria and Implementation Planning
FHWA presented the results of a recent analysis of national fatality data. More than half (56 to 57 percent) of fatalities involve some form of roadway departure. Rollovers, head-on collisions, and/or collisions with trees occur in three quarters of fatal roadway departure events—these crash types are a focus of FHWA's programmatic efforts. Rollover crashes typically involve high speeds. Many take place on rural roads, and 43 percent happen at curves. Head-on collisions frequently occur on undivided, high speed roads in rural areas. Collisions with trees account for half of fixed object crashes. Two-thirds occur in rural areas, and one-half occur at curves.
FHWA also presented the criteria for defining a Roadway Departure Focus State and the process of developing a Roadway Departure Implementation Plan with FHWA support. They explained that a contractor hired by FHWA helps Focus States analyze their crash data and identifies potential benefits by implementing the selected countermeasures. The plan provides both the costs and the benefits (in economic terms) of the proposed selected countermeasures. The plan generally assesses both State- and locally-owned roads in a State.
Georgia Department of Transportation Roadway Departure Implementation Plan Presentation
Georgia DOT representatives described deployment of an RwD Implementation Plan, which was finalized in 2013. The plan includes the following major components:
The RwD Implementation plan aligns with the strategies identified in the RwD Emphasis Area of Georgia's Strategic Highway Safety Plan (SHSP). Georgia DOT has set aside approximately $7 million annually in Highway Safety Improvement Program (HSIP) funding for local roads. Georgia DOT is now planning to hire consultants to track implementation and evaluate projects.
Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development Roadway Departure Implementation Plan Presentation
Louisiana DOTD representatives described how they are implementing an RwD Implementation Plan. To select curve locations, they first analyze roadway departure crash frequency at curves based on average annual daily traffic (AADT), lane width, and degree of curvature. Then, they rank 2-lane roads by the presence of risk factors associated with run-off-the-road crashes—including ADT, lane width, shoulder width, and degree of curve. Priority curves are addressed using low-cost safety improvements, such as 6-inch edge lines, chevrons and curve warning signs, and HFST.
Louisiana DOTD incorporated lessons learned from the Intersection Safety Implementation Plan. For example, they learned that unsafe facilities are often atypical and that detailed design specifications are needed to guide efficient implementation of safety improvements.
Participants discussed challenges of and effective strategies for implementing RwD Implementation Plans, including the following:
Participants met with colleagues from their State to develop plans to further address RwD safety. They presented a number of strategies that they intend to pursue to improve RwD safety in their respective States, including the following:
A majority of fatal crashes on the nation's roadways are the result of roadway departures. Effective, low-cost countermeasures for addressing roadway departure crashes exist, including rumble strips, high friction surface treatment, and curve delineation. Using crash data, State DOTs can apply these countermeasures systemically to cost-effectively reduce safety risks on roadways. During this peer exchange, representatives from seven States had the opportunity to discuss effective strategies and technical challenges related to the implementation of these countermeasures. In addition, State representatives were able to use this exchange to develop action plans for their respective States.
|5:00 P.M.||Wrap-up Day One|
|8:00 A.M.||Recap of Day 1
HFST Video Overview Presentation
Mini-Presentation on HFST
Final Report Out and Wrap-Up