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National Wildlife Refuge Road Safety

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  1. National Wildlife Refuge Road Safety Scott Whittemore, P.E. Highway Safety EngineerEastern Federal Lands Highway Division Tel: 703-404-6368 Email: scott.whittemore@fhwa.dot.gov

  2. Topics to be covered: • Animal-vehicle crashes • FWS crash reporting system • Sign retroreflectivity and replacement • Low cost safety improvements

  3. National Animal-Vehicle Crash Fatality Data Source: DeerCrash.com

  4. Animal-Vehicle Crash (AVC) Trends • 315,000 AVC (5 % of total crashes) • AVC: 10,000 injuries (1% of total crashes) • AVC: 200 fatalities (1/2 % of total crashes) • AVC believed to be under-reported by 50% or higher • Crashes and injuries occurred more often during: • October and November • Dusk / dawn conditions

  5. What else do we know? • 12 to 35% of all reported crashes on rural, 2-Lane roads involve animals. (GAO, 2004) • 87% of AVC were Deer-Vehicle Crashes (DVC) type • 45% of DVC crashes resulted in some type of lane departure maneuver • Don’t Veer for Deer (Michigan)

  6. Deer-Vehicle Crash Prevention Measures Under Study • In-vehicle vision system technologies • Deicing salt alternatives • Improve effectiveness of Deer Crossing signs • Enhanced sign designs • Dynamic sign and sensor systems • Public information and education • Wildlife crossings

  7. NCHRP 25-27: Evaluation of the Use and Effectiveness of Wildlife Crossings • Analysis of research related to selection, configuration, and location of wildlife crossing structures • Report of current domestic and international wildlife crossing practices, along with recommendations for future changes • Guidelines for selection, configuration, location, monitoring, and maintaining these structures • Decision tool to assist professionals on how to consider wildlife and ecosystems when planning and implementing transportation programs and projects

  8. Deer Vehicle Crash Information and Research (DVCIR) Center Pooled Fund Project objective is to create a focal point center that strategically considers / disseminates unbiased deer vehicle crash (DVC) impact information, and funds properly designed countermeasure research evaluations

  9. FWS Roadway Crashes –Light & Weather Conditions

  10. FWS Roadway Crashes –Road Type & Surface Conditions

  11. Top Crash Causes on FWS Roads

  12. Sign Retroreflectivity • Retroreflectivity - property of a material to redirect light back towards its source • Retroreflectivity gradually deteriorates over time • Typical life of retroreflective sheeting varies by type: • Engineer Grade (Type I) = approx. 7 years • High Intensity (Type III) = approx. 10 years • Diamond Grade (Types VII,VIII, IX) = 15+ years

  13. Night - few cues remain Task more difficult Day - many cues available Driver task relatively easy Why is Retroreflectivity Important? • Critical for nighttime driving

  14. Degradation of Sign Retroreflectivity NewR NewR Retroreflectivity Sign Replacement Scheduled Minimum Retro Needs of Drivers Sign Installed Time

  15. What are “Low Cost” Improvements? • No “Official” Definition • One agency’s “low cost” is another agency’s “too expensive”! • Up to $10,000 is widely accepted as “low cost” • Crash Reduction Countermeasures based on quantitative results from research studies

  16. Run-Off-Road Causes & Hazards • Drivers may leave the roadway as a result of: • Driver Error • Collision Avoidance • Roadway Condition • Vehicle Component Failure • Common roadside hazards: • Trees • Utility Poles • Sign Posts • Ditches • Paved Surface Edge Drop-Off

  17. Human Factors • Driver Behavior & Limitations • Perceive 2 or more events per second • Make 1 to 3 decisions per second • Take 30 to 120 actions per minute • Commit at least one error every 2 minutes • Involved in a hazardous situation every 2 hours • Have 1 or 2 near collisions per month • Average 1 crash every 6 years • Consider pedestrian & bicyclist user needs

  18. HORIZONTAL CURVES CW Sign w/ Advisory Speed Plaque (Reduce All Crashes by 22%) NCHRP 500 Volume 7 “Guide for Collisions on Horizontal Curves”

  19. HORIZONTAL CURVES Chevron Alignment Signs (Reduce All Crashes by 35%) NCHRP 500 Volume 7 “Guide for Collisions on Horizontal Curves”

  20. HORIZONTAL CURVES • Sharp Curve Warning Large Arrow Sign • Reduce Fixed Object Crashes by 43% • Reduce Head-On Crashes by 44% • Reduce Wet Surface Crashes by 43% NYSDOT Study of 41 Locations

  21. LANE DEPARTURE • Application of Pavement Markings: • Centerline - Reduce All Crashes by 30% to 35% • Edgelines - Reduce All Crashes by 4% to 44%

  22. LANE DEPARTURE • Roadside Delineators: • Reduce All Crashes by 20% to 30% • Reduce Injury/Fatal Crashes by 6% to 15%

  23. Lane Departure - The Safety Edge • Eliminates the vertical edge drop-off • Applies a 30°-35° asphalt fillet to the edge of the roadway • Minimal added cost (<1% overall)

  24. ADDED CHEVRONS BEFORE ADDED GUARDRAIL AFTER Low Cost Safety Improvements STEEP SIDESLOPE “BLIND” CURVE

  25. HIGH VEGETATION DENSITY BEFORE BRUSH CLEARING* & IMPROVED SIGHTLINES AFTER Low Cost Safety Improvements * On federal lands projects, a selective clearing approach is preferred

  26. Questions ?