Strategic Approach to Roadway Departure
The FHWA encourages agencies to focus safety improvements on severe crashes with potential for correction. A strategic action plan should be developed and implemented based on an analysis of crash statistics and other available information. Most agencies will find that roadway departure crashes are a major cause of highway fatalities in their State or locality. To effectively address these crashes, it is critical to select the appropriate set of countermeasures, and install them correctly in locations with the greatest potential. The FHWA offers guidance on how to incorporate a focus on roadway departure safety into planning, design, construction, and maintenance programs.
Other Plans, Strategies and Guides
Lane Departure Strategic Action Plan: Example Plan
Prepared for FHWA in 2011, this sample plan is intended to provide Focus State highway Agencies a general idea of the structure and content of the Roadway Departure Safety Implementation Plan.
Strategic Plan for Improving Roadside Safety – NCHRP 17-13
This documents the results of an NCHRP research project conducted between 1995 and 2001, which developed a comprehensive strategic plan for improving roadside safety, built upon a broad-based consensus.
Strategies for Improving Roadside Safety [PDF 378.5 KB]
This 8-page publication from the Transportation Research Board provides an overview of roadside safety. The importance of roadside safety problems is explained, and key strategies for improving roadside safety are described.
Toolbox of Countermeasures and Their Potential Effectiveness for Roadway Departure Crashes [PDF 605.2 KB]
This issue brief documents the expected crash reduction benefits that might be expected from implementation of various countermeasures. Use care when applying countermeasures, considering which is the most appropriate to your application, the type and severity of crashes, and the reliability of the source data.
Horizontal Curves Guide
- NCHRP Report 500: Guidance for Implementation of the AASHTO Strategic Highway Safety Plan, the following volumes of this publication are designed to help practitioners choose countermeasures to address specific roadway departure safety issues:
- Volume 3: A Guide for Addressing Collisions with Trees in Hazardous Locations
- Volume 4: A Guide for Addressing Head-On Collisions
- Volume 6: A Guide for Addressing Run-Off-Road Collisions
- Volume 7: A Guide for Reducing Collisions on Horizontal Curves
- Volume 8: A Guide for Reducing Collisions Involving Utility Poles
- Volume 14: A Guide for Reducing Crashes Involving Drowsy and Distracted Drivers
- Volume 18: A Guide for Reducing Head-On Crashes on Freeways
Rural Roads Safety Initiative Plan
In February 2008, DOT announced a $287 million initiative to address rural road safety. The Rural Roads Safety Initiative Plan presents DOT’s program for supporting State and local agencies in addressing rural road safety issues.
- Notable Practice
Incorporating Safety into Resurfacing and Restoration Projects
The Principles of a Safe Roadside Design
The AASHTO Roadside Design Guide, 3rd Edition, with the 2006 Chapter 6 Update, provides guidance on designing safe roadsides. It is a synthesis of information and operating practices related to roadside safety which focus on safety treatments that can minimize the likelihood of serious injuries when a motorist leaves the roadway. This document is a resource document from which individual highway agencies can develop standards and policies. It is available from the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials at https://bookstore.transportation.org/item_details.aspx?ID=148.
The Roadside Design Guide is currently being revised by AASHTO’s Technical Committee on Roadside Safety, with the update planned for completion in 2010.
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Safety Design Team Leader
Guidance memorandum on the Roadside Design Guide - 4th Edition NEW!
Memorandum - Roadside Safety Hardware-Federal-Aid Reimbursement Eligibility Process NEW!
2009 MUTCD Compliance Dates Revised NEW!
FHWA Technical Advisory T 5040.40: Center Line Rumble Strips NEW!
FHWA Memo: Technical Advisories for Rumble Strips NEW!
Roadway Departure Safety Implementation Plans
Roadway Departure Countermeasures
Roadside Design: Steel Strong Post W-beam. A guidance memo was issued on May 17, 2010 on the height of guardrail for new installations. Guidance regarding existing guardrail will be developed in the next several months, in consultation with AASHTO’s Technical Committee on Roadside Safety.
Pavement Marking Retroreflectivity Notice of Proposed Rulemaking [HTML, PDF]
MUTCD Text of the Proposed Pavement Marking Retroreflectivity Standard
Summary of the MUTCD Pavement Marking Retroreflectivity Standard
Revised Assessment of Economic Impacts of Pavement Marking Retroreflectivity
Low Cost Treatments for Horizontal Curve Safety
The Safety Edge