N. Stamatiadis, J. Weast, E. Green
In the Southeast United States, the largest proportion of fatal crashes occur on low-volume roads (LVRs). Many state transportation agencies have recognized this problem and are implementing countermeasures to reduce fatality rates. A research effort was undertaken to address these issues aiming to summarize factors which contribute to LVR crashes, identify countermeasures that have been implemented to address LVR safety in the Southeast; and determine how effectively countermeasures address LVR safety. Even though the synthesis only addressed practices used by the 12 Southeast Transportation Consortium (STC) member states, its findings are applicable to all states, since they were based on review of national practices. The findings were based on a literature review and web-based survey. Information gathered as part of these activities established the foundation for the analysis and conclusions developed. Countermeasures were selected based on a review of research literature, an examination of several manuals and handbooks that agency personnel can use to select appropriate treatments, and a survey of personnel who work at transportation agencies in member states of the STC. The survey of agencies indicated that 15 countermeasures are currently used by a majority of responding agencies. Pavement markings (e.g., adding new markings, repainting faded markings, and improving the retro-reflectivity of existing markings), pavement surface treatments (e.g., edge line and centerline rumble strips and high friction surface treatments), widening shoulders and installing horizontal warning signs are regarded as the most effective countermeasures. The paper identifies best practices and countermeasures agency staff view as being the most effective. Summary sheets have been developed for treatments that hold the most promise; these summary sheets describe each countermeasure, comment on their effectiveness, review installation costs, and list crash types they are used to mitigate. Agency personnel may consult these sheets when deciding on what countermeasure(s) to possibly use.
Keywords: low volume roads; highway safety; countermeasures