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Case Study 6

Road Safety Audit of Existing Roads:
District 3. Iowa

District 3 of the Iowa Department of Transportation (DOT) conducted a Road Safety Audit for seven existing rural highways throughout the District in Iowa. The audit was conducted by driving and walking along the subject roads.

The road safety audit team consisted of ten participants from the Office of Traffic and Safety, the Federal Highway Administration, Iowa State University's Center for Transportation Research and Education, maintenance, engineering, and
design, and included one consultant. The audit team reviewed the crash summaries prior to the field visit.

Through the review, the team identified many general observations, such as a lack of sidewalks on many routes, particularly in the community of Denison. In addition, the team paid special attention to horizontal and vertical curves on three of the reviewed highways. There were cases where left curves were followed by vertical crest curves, which the report explained are particularly vulnerable to crashes. The report discussed treatment options such as chevrons, curve widening, shoulder super elevation, and rumble strips, as well as many other improvements.

The report also discussed the potential safety implications of reduced roadside mowing, including reduced site distance and obstacles in the clear zone. Based on the review, the district suggested that mowing and roadside maintenance be added to the “Safety Review Checklist” maintained by the Office of Traffic and Safety. The RSA report was six pages long.

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