Safety evaluation of centerline rumble strips
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Safety evaluation of centerline rumble strips

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    Final report
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    A study of centerline rumble strips was undertaken as part of the Massachusetts Highway Department Research Program. The objective of this research was to evaluate the effectiveness of centerline rumble strips in reducing crossover crashes and improving the safety of undivided roadways. The research was divided into three distinct phases. The objective of Phase I was to identify the current use of centerline rumble strips in the U.S. and around the world. Phase I also included a review of the current state-of-the-knowledge related to centerline rumble strips. The objective of Phase II was to evaluate the safety effects of the current installations of centerline rumble strips in Massachusetts on State Routes 2, 20, and 88. Finally, the objective of Phase III was to determine driver reaction to centerline rumble strips by evaluating behavior in a full-scale driving simulator. The experiment was conducted during the summer and fall of 2001 and spring and summer of 2002. Phase I results found that 20 of the 50 state departments of transportation, along with several provinces in Canada, are using centerline rumble strips. Several more states plan to use centerline rumble strips in the future. Massachusetts continues to be a leader in the use of centerline rumble strips as a safety measure. States that do not plan to use centerline rumble strips had concerns with noise, pavement deterioration, pooling and freezing water in the rumble strips, and the safety of motorcyclists and bicyclists. The results of the crash analysis found that Route 2 experienced a slight decrease in the annual frequency of targeted crashes while Routes 20 and 88 remained relatively consistent. An analysis of fatal crashes at the study locations found no fatal crashes on Routes 2 and 88 in the study area since the installation of the centerline rumble strips. Route 20 experienced fatal crashes in 1997 and 1998, all after the installation of centerline rumble strips. No fatal crashes were experienced on Route 20 in 1999 and 2000. This study found no significant change in crash frequencies before and after the installation of centerline rumble strips. There was no evidence found to suggest that the installation of the centerline rumble strips significantly reduced crash rates. Phase III considered the human factors elements of rumble strips and evaluated driver reaction to encounters with centerline rumble strips. The results found that drivers took more time to return to the travel lane when centerline rumble strips were present. Approximately 27% of the drivers made an initial leftward vehicle correction when encountering centerline rumble strips. No improper corrections were experienced with shoulder rumble strip scenarios. /Abstract from report summary page/
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