High Friction Surface Treatment

High Friction Surface Treatment

HFST Road

Crashes on the nation’s roadways continue to be one of the leading causes of fatalities and major injuries in the United States, particularly in rural areas. Roughly half of all fatal crashes occur at intersections or on horizontal curves. In horizontal curve crashes, it is often the case that the vehicle speed and curve geometry create a “friction demand” higher than what can be achieved with standard pavement surfaces. Intersection crashes often occur when driver error creates an unexpected need for increased friction demand to serve as a “speed countermeasure.”

 

 

One low cost approach that has been shown to be effective in addressing high “friction demand” locations is the installation of a High Friction Surface Treatment (HFST). High Friction Surface Treatments are pavement surface treatments that are composed of extremely hard, polish- and abrasion-resistant aggregates bonded to the pavement surface that greatly enhance the skid resistance and frictional characteristics of a road surface. HFSTs address three speed-related crash conditions: low friction, marginal friction (further reduced by weather), and friction values not compatible with approach speeds and geometrics.

 

 

ATSSA's High Friction Surface Treatment Council (member login required) works to assist policymakers so they can better understand the impact of friction demand on roadway safety and the role that high friction surfacing can play to improve safety at high-risk locations. Council members also aim to provide the latest information related to high friction surface treatments that will be the most helpful in the ongoing effort to create a safer driving environment for all motorists.

Resources

CASE STUDY: West Virginia Horizontal Curves

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West Virginia was experiencing a high number of run-off-the-road crashes throughout their highway network. To combat this problem, West Virginia has applied a High Friction Surface treatment to more than 20 sites.

CASE STUDY: Pennsylvania, District 5 and 8

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In the past five years, Pennsylvania has experienced nearly 200 fatalities and 500 major injuries each year involving crashes on slippery or wet pavement. Nationally, more than 25 percent of highway fatalities occur at or near horizontal curves each year, even though these curves only make up 5 percent of the nation’s highway miles.

CASE STUDY: Milwaukee, Wisconsin Marquette Interchange

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In 2008, the new Marquette Interchange was completed in Wisconsin. This is a heavily utilized ramp with annual daily traffic of 31,000 vehicles. Part of the design included a ramp connection from I-94 eastbound to I-43 northbound. Unfortunately, during every rain or snow event, vehicles were leaving the traveled way so frequently that the connection was shut down. In just a three-year period, 81 crashes occurred on this ramp. 

CASE STUDY: Kentucky Horizontal Curves

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Recognizing that nearly 70 percent of their roadway crashes were related to road departure Kentucky identified a need to address road departure accidents. . Roadway departure crashes are a priority for the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet (KTC) because they have found that these crashes tend to lead to injuries or fatalities. If a half-mile roadway section had eight or more wet weather crashes over a five-year period, the KTC proactively applied a High Friction Surface treatment if the pavement was in a good condition. All of the locations used calcined bauxite for the aggregate.

CASE STUDY: Florida Interchange Ramps and Intersection

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The Florida Transportation Department (FDOT) has installed a number of High Friction Surface treatments around the state to date. Among the sites with HFST installed are the northbound interchange ramp at Royal Palm Boulevard and I-75 (Broward County), the I-595 interchange ramp to the Ft. Lauderdale airport, and the west leg (downgrade) of Sheridan St. at the North 29th Ave. 

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