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FHWA Home / Safety / Intersection / Stop-Controlled Intersection Safety Through Route Activated Warning System

Stop-Controlled Intersection Safety Through Route Activated Warning System

May 2011

FHWA logo.
Federal Highway Administration
Office of Safety

1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
Washington, DC 20590

FHWA-SA-11-023

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Purpose

More fatal crashes occur at stop-controlled than signalized intersections. Two thirds of these crashes involve right-angle collisions. Recently, States have been using some infrastructure-based Intelligent Transportation System (ITS) technologies in innovative ways to help reduce the potential for and severity of these crashes. One of these technologies, the Through Route Activated Warning System, has been successfully deployed at several intersections. The addition of a Through Route Activated Warning System shows greater potential to decrease crashes compared to traditional sign and marking enhancements alone.

Operation

Detectors on the stop approach activate flashing LED beacons on intersection warning signs. This provides real time warning to through route drivers of the presence of a vehicle that may enter the intersection from the approaching cross street. The Through Route Activated Warning System is often deployed at rural stop-controlled intersections that have limited sight distance and/or a history of crash experience.

photo depicting a through rought activated warning sign to the left of a rural roadway on a stop approach.

This summary is one in a series describing Innovative Intersection Safety Treatments. The summaries identify newer technologies and techniques to improve intersection safety developed since NCHRP Report 500 Volumes 5 and 12 were published in 2003 and 2004, respectively. These treatments show promise for improving safety but comprehensive effectiveness evaluations are not yet available.

Photo of a stop approach on a four-lane divided highway with one through route warning sign with a beacon on the median to the left of the roadway and one to the right.
Figure 1: Through Vehicle Activated Warning Sign System warns through drivers of a vehicle on a cross street stop approach
Photo Courtesy North Carolina DOT

Learn More

Please read the full report on this system:

Stop-Controlled Intersection Safety: Through Route Activated Warning System,
FHWA-SA-11-15
available at http://safety.fhwa.dot.gov/intersection/resources/

Rosemarie Anderson
Transportation Specialist
FHWA Office of Safety
202.366.5007
rosemarie.anderson@dot.gov

Julie Stotlemeyer
Traffic Liaison Engineer
Missouri DOT
573.751.0982
julie.stotlemeyer@modot.mo.gov

Shawn Troy
Safety Evaluation Engineer
North Carolina DOT
919.773.2897
stroy@ncdot.gov

Potential Benefits

The addition of a Through Route Activated Warning System shows greater potential to decrease crashes compared to traditional sign and marking enhancements alone.

Agency Experience

Missouri and North Carolina have successfully implemented these systems in multiple locations:

Implementation Considerations

Location

Candidate stop-controlled intersections for Through Route Activated Warning Systems should be initially screened to determine potential success using the following criteria as a guide:

Public/Stakeholder Involvement

Conduct early public outreach to gain public acceptance and buy-in. Outreach efforts can include a public meeting with local officials including law enforcement and nearby residents to provide information on the system, including installation and how the system will increase safety for drivers.

Design

Placement

Maintenance

The successful operation of the system depends on minimizing down time for maintenance and any possible malfunction of the system. Therefore a plan to address these should be in place.

Costs

Implementation cost for the system is relatively low, ranging from $15,000 to $35,000 per intersection.


FHWA Office of Safety Logo: Safe Roads for a Safer Future - Investment in roadway safety saves lives.
Page last modified on September 4, 2014.
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