The National Academies

NCHRP 07-28(01) [Final]

Assessing the Impacts of Right-Turn Lanes on Rural and Suburban Highways

  Project Data
Funds: $400,000
Research Agency: MRIGlobal / TTI
Principal Investigator: Ingrid Potts
Effective Date: 5/8/2019
Completion Date: 12/2/2022
Comments: Final report published as NCHRP Research Report 1062.


Dedicated right-turn lanes typically are installed on highways and arterial roads at intersections to improve motor vehicle traffic operations and avoid high-speed rear-end crashes.  However, vehicles decelerating or queued in a right turn lane (RTL) may obstruct the view of drivers turning onto or crossing the major road from the minor road at stop-controlled intersections where operating speeds are relatively high on major road. Additionally, weaving maneuvers among bicyclists and right-turning motor vehicles may present added conflicts.

Some studies indicate that drivers may not perform as expected at parallel-type RTLs. Some studies suggest that tapered-type RTLs or offsets with more separation may maintain the sight triangle and improve safety performance. In any case, empirical safety data indicate that crash frequency for drivers making entering or crossing movements from the minor street may increase at RTLs, and there is little guidance available for designers of these turn lanes.  Research is needed to assess the safety performance of RTLs, identify design characteristics—for example offsets, signage and striping, storage length, taper—that influence safety performance, and provide guidance for designers.


The objective of this research is to develop recommendations for the design of RTLs on rural and suburban roads to enhance safety performance.  These recommendations and supporting information should be consistent with the AASHTO Highway Safety Manual (HSM) and suitable for adoption in state and local highway design guides and possibly the AASHTO Policy on Geometric Design for Highways and Streets. 

STATUS: Final report published as NCHRP Research Report 1062: Assessing the Impacts of Right-Turn Lanes on Rural and Suburban Highways. In addition to the conduct of research that documents the entire research effort published as NCHRP Research Report 1062, an Analysis Spreadsheet Tool is available on the TRB website at trb.org by searching for NCHRP Research Report 1062.

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