The National Academies

NCHRP 15-65 [Completed]

Development of Safety Performance Based Guidelines for the Roadside Design Guide

  Project Data
Funds: $300,000
Research Agency: RoadSafe LLC
Principal Investigator: Malcom Ray
Effective Date: 9/1/2017
Completion Date: 12/31/2020
Comments: Final

The AASHTO Technical Committee on Roadside Safety’s (TCRS) mission, as stated in their strategic plan, is to develop, implement, and maintain guidance which will reduce fatal and incapacitating-injury roadway departure crashes.  The TCRS maintains the Roadside Design Guide (RDG) which is the primary source of this guidance. There is increasing interest in the highway design community to incorporate methods, based to a greater degree on risk and performance, into guidance and procedures. Consequently, the strategic plan identified a need to (1) review the guidance in the current RDG, (2) identify gaps and areas where updated guidance is needed, and (3) explicitly express this guidance in terms of safety performance.
The objectives of this research are to (1) identify and prioritize gaps and needs related to guidance in the AASHTO Roadside Design Guide and (2) develop safety performance-based guidance to address high-priority needs that support quantitative design decisions, and that promote consistency in interpretation and implementation.

The NCHRP is seeking the insights of proposers on how best to achieve the research objective. Proposals are expected to describe a research plan that can realistically be accomplished within the constraints of available funds and contract time. Proposals must present the proposers' current thinking described in sufficient detail to demonstrate their understanding of the issues and the soundness of their approach to meeting the research objective.
The work proposed must be divided into tasks and proposers must describe the work proposed in each task in detail. The tasks must be divided into two phases. Phase I will consist of information gathering and planning tasks, culminating in the submittal of an interim report.  The interim report will describe the work completed in the Phase I tasks, provide an updated work plan for the Phase II tasks, and include an annotated outline of the guidelines report to be published.   The updated Phase II work plan should address the manner in which the proposer intends to use the information obtained in Phase I to satisfy the project objective. A face-to-face interim meeting with NCHRP will be scheduled to discuss the interim report. Work on Phase II tasks shall not begin until the updated Phase II work plan is approved by NCHRP. The project schedule should include 2 months for NCHRP review and approval of the interim report and conduct of the interim meeting
Proposals should indicate how guidance gaps and needs in the RDG will be identified and addressed. Proposers should demonstrate their knowledge of the need for safety performance-based guidance in the current RDG. The proposal should address, but not be limited to, the following broad categories: 
  • Clear zone
  • Traversability
  • Safety hardware
  • Vehicle types  
The research shall produce the following deliverables: 
  • A stand-alone comprehensive compilation of materials, evaluation methodology, and guidance in a format suitable for  incorporation in future editions of RDG
  • An amplified work plan
  • A kick-off teleconference between the research team and NCHRP to be scheduled within 1 month of the contract’s execution to discuss the amplified work plan
  •  A literature review
  • A final report documenting the conduct of the research


STATUS: Completed. The final report is available here: https://www.trb.org/Publications/Blurbs/182802.aspx 

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