The National Academies

NCHRP 17-41 [Completed]

Human Factors Guidelines for Road Systems - Phase III

  Project Data
Funds: $400,000
Research Agency: Battelle Memorial Institute
Principal Investigator: John Campbell
Effective Date: 3/5/2008
Completion Date: 3/4/2010

The Human Factors Guide (HFG) is intended to be a resource document for highway designers, traffic engineers, and other practitioners. The purpose of the HFG is to provide the best factual information and insight on road users’ characteristics, in a useful format, to facilitate safe roadway design and operational decisions. The impetus behind the HFG was the recognition that current design references have limitations in providing the practitioner with adequate guidance for incorporating road user needs and capabilities when dealing with design and operational issues.
The TRB Joint Subcommittee on International Human Factors Guidelines for Road Systems was created to help plan the development of human factors guidelines for road systems that highway designers and traffic engineers can readily use in their work. NCHRP Project 17-18(8), "Comprehensive Human Factors Guidelines for Road Systems," provided the framework for the guidelines and two of its chapters. The project was completed in January 2005.
NCHRP Project 17-31 was initiated in 2005 to develop three additional chapters and integrate them with the work completed under Project 17-18(8). Project 17-31 developed a style guide for the Guidelines; refined Chapters 1, 3, and 5 from NCHRP Project 17-8(8); and developed three new chapters--signalized intersections, unsignalized intersections, and work zones. A workshop was held on January 20, 2007,  to allow highway designers and traffic engineers to apply the draft guidelines to example problems and provide user comments. Chapters 1 through 5, 10, 11, and 13 have been completed and will be published as NCHRP Report 600.
The objectives of this research are to develop (1) additional chapters for the Human Factors Guidelines, (2) an index for NCHRP Report 600 and the chapters developed under this project, (3) an outreach plan, (4) potential methods for updating the HFG, and (5) an analysis of the feasibility of electronically cross-referencing the HFG to other industry guides and standards.
Accomplishment of the project objectives will require at least the following tasks.
TASKS  (1.) Review the prioritized list of chapters and make recommendations regarding the specific chapters to be completed based on the availability of information on the chapter topics.
Note: The following is the current priority order suggested by the panel:
  • Chapter 17 – Speed
  • Chapter 18 – Signing
  • Chapter 19 – Variable Message Signs
  • Chapter 20 – Markings
  • Chapter 16 – Special Considerations for Rural Environments
  • Chapter 8 – Tangent Sections
  • Chapter 7 – Grades (Vertical Alignment)
  • Chapter 9 – Transition Zones
  • Chapter 21 – Lighting
  • Chapter 12 – Interchanges
  • Chapter 15 - Special Considerations for Urban Environments
  • Chapter 14 – Rail-Highway Grade Crossings
(2.) Develop and submit for NCHRP approval the recommended chapters list, including the table of contents for each chapter.  (3.) Develop annotated outlines of the approved chapters.  (4.) Develop an outreach plan to ensure the maximum usage of the HFG. The plan shall identify the expected users and optimal methods of reaching them.  (5.) Develop a conceptual plan for continuous user feedback, editing, updating, and developing new guidelines for the HFG. Consideration should be given to using nontraditional methods, e. g., wiki approach (web based encyclopedia).  (6.) Investigate the feasibility of cross referencing the HFG to other published industry guides and standards (e.g., AASHTO’s A Policy on Geometric Design of Highways and Streets, Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices, Roadside Design Guide).   (7.) Submit an interim report that summarizes the findings of Tasks 1 through 6.  (8.) Meet with the NCHRP panel to review the Task 7 interim report approximately 1 month after its submittal. After the meeting, submit a revised interim report addressing the decisions made at the meeting.  (9.) Develop the draft chapters from the approved outlines. Chapter development shall include user  evaluation through the use of working groups or other means.  (10.) Develop the glossary, index, and abbreviations for the new chapters and the existing chapters in NCHRP Report 600.  (11.) Participate in a TRB Joint Subcommittee on International Human Factors Guidelines for Road Systems workshop to review the materials developed under this project. The workshop will be organized by the Joint Subcommittee.  (12.) Submit a final report documenting the entire research effort. The final report shall describe how the project was conducted and include as appendices the new chapters.
Status: The revised final report has been published.

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