A significant amount of research is being sponsored by FHWA, TRB, and the states to improve roadside safety. These efforts are proceeding without specific coordination or an overall plan. Meanwhile, new technologies are emerging that have the potential to improve roadside safety including intelligent transportation system technology, nonlinear finite element simulations of vehicle/object impacts, geographic information systems, computer-aided design, expert systems, and highway safety management systems. There are many issues that must be addressed relative to improving roadside safety including the evolution of roadside safety hardware, current roadside accident trends, the changing vehicle fleet, efforts of the auto industry, the efficacy of simulation analysis techniques, and procedures for the evaluation of alternative safety treatments. There is a need to develop a strategic plan that will identify the research areas with the highest potential payoffs for improving roadside safety considering the various issues.
The objective of this research was to develop a comprehensive strategic plan for improving roadside safety, building upon a broad-based consensus.
To accomplish the objective, the following tasks were conducted: (1) Organize and conduct one or more roadside safety conferences or workshops. Efforts were made to maximize the opportunities for state personnel to attend and provide insight and input into the process. Presentations by recognized individuals in the field were arranged to provide up-to-date information. The conferences included a series of breakout sessions to ensure a thorough discussion of the issues and were open to all interested parties, but efforts were made to include representatives from the states, TRB, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), FHWA, vehicle manufacturers, testing agencies, private and government laboratories, material suppliers, roadside hardware manufacturers, and the academic community. (2) Prepare reports that synthesizes the input obtained from the conference for review by the project panel. The reports described the draft strategic plan as it evolved and included research problem statements that were developed. (3) Revise the draft strategic plan to reflect the comments from the NCHRP panel. Consider options for distributing the report to the agencies and organizations affected for review and comment. (4) Use the strategic plan to identify research needs, formulate action plans, outline implementation efforts, and identify and organize partners and stakeholders. (5) Prepare a final report, which documents the efforts and findings of the project including the revised strategic plan.
: This project has been completed.
The final report has been posted on the TRB website as NCHRP Web Document 33. NCHRP Research Results Digest 256
summarizes the project and announces the availability of the final report on the TRB website. NCHRP Research Results Digest 220,
produced early in the study, is also available.