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Evaluation of Safety Treatments for Roadside Culverts

REPORT NUMBER

TRP-03-201-09

AUTHORS

Daniel Albuquerque, Dean Sicking, Karla Lechtenberg

PUBLICATION DATE

2009-04-24

ABSTRACT

Roadside cross-drainage culverts have been found to impact vehicle accident injury levels. Designers have commonly used three safety treatments to protect errant drivers from culvert accidents. These treatments have included: culvert extension, guardrail installation and grating. In order to define which safety treatment is the most appropriate, benefit-cost analysis has used accident cost reduction to estimate societal gains earned by using any safety treatment. The purpose of this study was to estimate accident costs for a wide range of roadway and roadside characteristics so that designers can calculate benefit/cost ratios for culvert safety treatment options under any particular scenario. This study began with conducting a parametric study in order to find variables which have significant impact on accident cost changes. The study proceeded with highway scenario modeling which included scenarios with different values for combinations of roadway and roadside variables. These variables were chosen based upon findings from the parametric study and their values were assigned based upon highway classification. This study shows that the use of different culvert safety treatments should be flexible to roadway and roadside characteristics. It also shows that culvert extension and grating were the safety treatments found to produce the lowest accident costs for all highway scenarios modeled. Therefore, it is believed that the expanded adoption of culvert extension and culvert grates can improve overall highway safety.

KEYWORDS

Highway Safety, Culverts, Benefit-Cost Analysis, Roadside Safety Analysis Program

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