Use of Highway Geometrics to Identify Roadside Hazard Locations

Report No: 78-R21

Published in 1977

About the report:

In recent years more than one-third of the nation's annual traffic fatalities have resulted from vehicle crashes with roadside obstacles. The purpose of this study was to determine if criteria developed for identifying roadside hazard locations in a Georgia study could be applied in Virginia to reduce the number of these crashes. Basically, the study was focused upon roadway locations namely, (1) nonlocal highways, greater, and (2) curvature of 6 degrees or greater, and (3) 2% or steeper downgrades. It consisted of (1) identifying all criteria sites on primary highways in Augusta County, (2) randomly selecting and then pairing ten sites meeting the criteria and ten sites not meeting the criteria, (3) collecting traffic accident data doe the sites, and (4) comparing the crash experience for the ten pairs. It was found that 2.6 times more single-vehicle fixed object crashes occurred at the sites meeting the Georgia criteria. It was recommended that officials managing the Virginia highway safety improvement program should place increased emphasis on low cost improvements by initiating action to remove or modify roadside hazards at locations meeting the three criteria. Such improvements could include special traffic signing, pavement grooving or resurfacing to increase skid resistance, repainting of pavement markings, recontouring of ditches, relocation of utility poles, removal of trees on a selected basis, or the installation of guardrails.

Disclaimer Statement:The contents of this report reflect the views of the author(s), who is responsible for the facts and the accuracy of the data presented herein. The contents do not necessarily reflect the official views or policies of the Virginia Department of Transportation, the Commonwealth Transportation Board, or the Federal Highway Administration. This report does not constitute a standard, specification, or regulation. Any inclusion of manufacturer names, trade names, or trademarks is for identification purposes only and is not to be considered an endorsement.


Other Authors

Robert F. Jordan

Last updated: January 27, 2024

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