Skip to contentSkip to contentUnited States Department of Transportation - Federal Highway Administration FHWA HomeFeedback

DOT logo
U.S. Department of Transportation

Federal Highway Administration

400 Seventh St., S.W.
Washington, D.C. 20590


September 19, 2005

Refer to: HSA-10/WZ-215

Mr. Jeff Johnson
Trafficade Service
2533 West Holly Street
Phoenix, Arizona 85009

Dear Mr. Johnson:

Thank you for your letter of May 2, 2005, requesting the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) acceptance of your company's Trafficade Vertical Panel as a crashworthy traffic control device for use in work zones on the National Highway System (NHS). Accompanying your letter were reports of crash testing conducted by E-TECH Testing Services, Inc., and video of the tests. You requested that we find these devices acceptable for use on the NHS under the provisions of National Cooperative Highway Research Program (NCHRP) Report 350 "Recommended Procedures for the Safety Performance Evaluation of Highway Features."


The FHWA guidance on crash testing of work zone traffic control devices is contained in two memoranda. The first, dated July 25, 1997, titled "INFORMATION: Identifying Acceptable Highway Safety Features," established four categories of work zone devices: Category I devices are those lightweight devices which are to be self-certified by the vendor, Category II devices are other lightweight devices which need individual crash testing but with reduced instrumentation, Category III devices are barriers and other fixed or heavy devices also needing crash testing with normal instrumentation, and Category IV devices are trailer mounted lighted signs, arrow panels, etc. for which crash testing requirements have not yet been established. The second guidance memorandum was issued on August 28, 1998, and is titled "INFORMATION: Crash Tested Work Zone Traffic Control Devices." This later memorandum lists devices that are acceptable under Categories I, II, and III.

A brief description of the devices follows:

The Trafficade Service Inc., vertical panel is constructed of two 12" x 24" x 0.29" HDPE panels bolted to a 40.5" x 1.5" x 0.25" steel post using two ¼" diameter Grade 2 bolts and 1/16" x 1.25" washers. The steel post is anchored in a crumb rubber base. The panel system also features a lightweight warning light that mounts above the vertical panel on the top portion of the steel post that is bent to accommodate it. The height from the ground to the top of the warning light is 51.25 inches.


Full-scale automobile testing was conducted on your company's devices. Two stand-alone examples of the device were tested in tandem, one head-on and the next placed six meters downstream turned at 90 degrees, as called for in our guidance memoranda.

The tests are summarized in the table below.


NCHRP Report 350 Test 3-71

Test Number




90 degrees

Weight of mast,panels,light

7 kg

7 kg

Weight of rubber base

9.6 kg

9.6 kg

Mass of Test Vehicle

818 kg

Impact Speed

99.7 km/hr

97.0 km/hr

Velocity Change

0.75 m/s

0.75 m/s

Extent of contact

Bumper and hood

Bumper and hood

Windshield Damage



Other notes

No significant windshield contact


Damage was limited to the bumper, grille, and hood. There was no damage to the windshield.

The results of the testing met the FHWA requirements and, therefore, the Trafficade Vertical Panels described above and detailed in the enclosed drawings are acceptable for use on the NHS under the range of conditions tested, when proposed by a State. The Trafficade Vertical Panel are also acceptable when used with substrates that are lighter than the 2.8 kg HDPE panels used in the crash tests.

Please note the following standard provisions that apply to the FHWA letters of acceptance:

Sincerely yours,

/original signed by/

John R. Baxter, P.E.
Director, Office of Safety Design
Office of Safety


Safety Home | FHWA Home | Feedback