Safety Evaluation of Restricted Crossing U-Turn Intersection: [techbrief]
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Safety Evaluation of Restricted Crossing U-Turn Intersection: [techbrief]

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      The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) established the Development of Crash Modification Factors (DCMF) program to address highway safety research needs for evaluating new and innovative safety strategies (improvements) by developing reliable quantitative estimates of their effectiveness in reducing crashes. The ultimate goal of the DCMF program is to save lives by identifying new safety strategies that effectively reduce crashes and to promote those strategies for nationwide implementation by providing measures of their safety effectiveness and benefit–cost (B/C) ratios through research. State transportation departments and other transportation agencies need objective measures for safety effectiveness and B/C ratios before investing in new strategies for statewide safety improvements. Forty State transportation departments provided technical feedback on safety improvements to the DCMF program and implemented new safety improvements to facilitate evaluations. These States are members of the Evaluation of Low-Cost Safety Improvements Pooled Fund Study, which functions under the DCMF program.

      This research examined the safety impacts of replacing a traditional signalized intersection with a signalized restricted crossing U-Turn intersection (RCUT). An RCUT is defined as a three-approach or four-approach intersection where minor street left-turn and through movements (if any) are rerouted to one-way downstream U-turn crossovers. The objective was to estimate the safety effectiveness of this strategy as measured by crash frequency. The primary measures examined were based on total crashes and fatal and injury crashes. A further objective was to conduct a spatial patterns analysis, assessing notable clusters of crashes, as well as changes to crash types and day/night between the before and after periods.

      While there are theoretical reasons that support the relative safety benefits of RCUTs as compared to conventional intersections, it is also possible that certain RCUT elements could diminish or negate these benefits. For example, signalized RCUTs involve a greater number of signals and require that some users travel longer overall distances. There is no known completed research on the safety of signalized RCUTs.

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