Guardrail and Barriers

Guardrail and Barriers

 

Guardrail

Roadway departure (RwD) crashes account for more than 50 percent of all motor vehicle traffic fatalities. There are a number of reasons a driver may leave the travel lane (e.g., an avoidance maneuver, inattention or fatigue, or traveling too fast for weather or geometric conditions). Over the past few decades, different engineering countermeasures have been proposed, implemented, and tested by various state and local agencies to mitigate RwD crashes. Improving median or roadside barrier design is one of the most effective countermeasures available to reduce RwD fatal crashes.

 

These devices suffered damage to their reputation as life savers because of some isolated unfortunate incidents, however the safety benefits beyond any doubt have been proven by numerous research studies. At this juncture, the life-saving qualities of roadside guardrails and median barriers need to be underscored.

 

ATSSA has a committee dedicated to the advancement of guardrails. The association’s Guardrail Committee (member login required) works to preserve funding through the Highway Safety Improvement Program (HSIP), a federal program which dedicates funds to infrastructure safety, promote a fully funded Highway Trust Fund (HTF) and other funding opportunities, work with ATSSA chapters and members to develop and deliver government relations services at the state level, and encourage members to utilize these services, and educate the administration on roadway safety infrastructure.

Resources

FAQs: Barriers, terminals, transitions, attenuators, and bridge railings

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FHWA barrier guidance is contained in the AASHTO Roadside Design Guide. However, FHWA field offices often raise numerous issues that involve interpretations, extrapolations, device selection, hardware deployment, or simply trying to fit safety devices into real world conditions. These questions and answers offer clarification on the use of roadside hardware for issues not covered by FHWA policy or topics that simply need additional explanation. They are the considered opinions of engineers in the FHWA Office of Safety Design and the FHWA Resource Center with helpful input from members of the American Traffic Safety Services Association's Guardrail Committee. 

Safety benefits of median barrier and roadside guardrail

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This new publication, "Safety Benefits of Median Barrier and Roadside Guardrail," was developed to address some of the negative assumptions that have recently affected the guardrail and cable barrier industry. The study showcases the various technologies designed to specifically improve safety on our roadways. Featured are “success stories” where road user(s) lives were saved by the successful performance of guardrail and median barriers.

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