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Study of high-tension cable barriers on Michigan roadways.
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  • Abstract:
    Median-crossover crashes present the highest risk of fatality and severe injury among all collision types on

    freeways. These crashes are caused by

    a variety of factors, including drowsiness, driver distraction, impaired

    driving, and loss of control. The primary countermeasur

    e to reduce the opportunity for such crashes is the

    installation of median barriers. The Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) began installing high-

    tension cable median barriers in 2008 and has installed approximately 317 miles of high-tension cable median

    barrier on state freeways as of September 2013. Given the capital costs required for this installation program,

    as well as the anticipated annual maintenance and repairs costs, a comprehensive evaluation was conducted in

    order to ascertain the efficacy of cable barrier systems th

    at have been installed to date. Statistical analyses

    showed that fatal and incapacitating injury crashes were

    reduced by 33 percent after cable barrier installation.

    The analysis also showed the median-crossover crash rate

    was reduced by 86.8 percent and the rate of rollover

    crashes was reduced by 50.4 percent. In contrast, less

    severe crashes were found to increase by 155 percent

    after cable barrier installation. A detailed analysis of

    crashes involving a vehicle striking the cable barrier was

    also conducted. The results showed that cable barriers we

    re 96.9 percent effective in

    preventing penetration in

    the event of a cable barrier strike. Weather and road cond

    itions were also found to play a role in the frequency

    and severity of crashes, as well as cable barrier performance. An economic analysis was conducted to

    determine the cost-effectiveness of the cable barrier system, and guidelines were developed to assist in

    prioritizing candidate locations for cable barrier installation.

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