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FHWA Home / Safety / Intersection Safety

Intersection Safety


Intersections are planned points of conflict in any roadway system. This includes U.S. and state highways, county roads and local streets. People – some in motor vehicles, others walking or biking – cross paths as they travel through or turn from one route to another. Where different paths separate, cross or join are known as conflict points, and these are always present at intersections. Therefore, it is not surprising that a major part of addressing road safety challenges involves intersections. In the United States, over the last several years an average of one-quarter of traffic fatalities and roughly half of all traffic injuries are attributed to intersections. Intersections can also become very congested when traffic volumes are high, creating inefficiency that results in user delay and frustration. They are a focal point for both safety and operations

Strategies to address intersection safety are diverse. Many strategies are engineering based, including geometric design and application of traffic control devices (such as signs, markings and signals). Most of the intersection safety work by FHWA focuses on engineering – all share a common foundation in human factors. Quite often, it is a combination of these strategies that is needed to truly solve a problem.

Intersection safety is a national, state and local priority. As a result, organizations such as FHWA, NHTSA, the Institute of Transportation Engineers (ITE), the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO), the American Automobile Association (AAA), and other private and public organizations continue to develop and deploy resources designed to help make intersections safer.

The goal is simple: to prevent the severe types of crashes that can change lives forever.

Page last modified on February 11, 2020
Safe Roads for a Safer Future - Investment in roadway safety saves lives
Federal Highway Administration | 1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE | Washington, DC 20590 | 202-366-4000