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Development of a Crash Data Collection Tool for MASH In-Service Performance and Application Guidelines

Description:

The AASHTO/FHWA joint implementation plan called for MASH testing to be required for the development of new hardware beginning January 1, 2011. As these higher performing systems are placed into service, adequately planned and conducted in-service performance evaluations (ISPEs) will allow determination of field performance of roadside safety hardware. A more comprehensive data collection tool and guidelines will provide a ready-to-use mechanism for agencies to collect the ideal data for conducting ISPEs. A single source of data collection guidelines will lead to data which can be readily combined across multiple states and/or agencies and ultimately resulting in a more meaningful, universal data set for ISPE evaluations.

This project would seek to develop an improved, more consistent in-service data collection tool and associated guidelines for the evaluation of roadside safety features. This tool would support first responders and responding DOT maintenance staff at the crash scene to collect needed data with respect to photographic information, hardware characteristics, and others. The developed crash data collection tool would also support State DOT maintenance personnel for a more consistent crash-related and roadside inventory data.

As part of the proposed project, a pilot study should be developed to test the developed tool and associated guidelines as well as to develop plans for disseminating the tool to interested agencies.

Objective:

This project would seek to develop a crash data collection tool and associated guidelines. This tool would support first responders and transportation agency staff at crash scenes to collect needed data with respect to photographic information, hardware characteristics, and other fields identified by the research. The developed crash data collection tool would also support State DOT maintenance personnel for roadside safety inventory data. The following tasks are proposed:

a.

Conduct a literature review of documented research to identify best practices of existing tools currently utilized by Agencies for crash data collection tools and methodology;

b.

Develop improved recommendations and a tool for first responders and DOT maintenance personnel at crash scene for easy and efficient collection of crash data;

c.

Conduct a pilot testing to determine efficiency of the newly developed tool and associated guidelines;

d.

Develop plans, including workshops, for disseminating newly developed tool and associated guideline to interested agencies.

Benefits:

Urgency – MASH was published in 2009. The AASHTO/FHWA joint implementation plan called for MASH testing to be required for the development of new hardware beginning January 1, 2011. Without in-service performance evaluations of roadside safety hardware it will not be possible to determine how well crash test performance translates into field performance. Making informed decisions about MASH implementation requires that in-service performance evaluations be performed to develop policy. A more comprehensive data collection tool and guidelines will provide a ready-to-use mechanism for agencies to more easily collect the needed data for ISPEs, combine data across multiple states and/or agencies, and extract more meaningful results from ISPEs.

Potential Payoff – The primary payoff is a means to collect better, more consistent crash-related and roadside inventory data. This information can be used in making policy decisions about selecting between the range of upcoming MASH tested road safety hardware. The cost of this research is a tiny fraction of what a whole-sale technology replacement would cost if a particular device type proves unacceptable in the field.

Related Research:

There are several research projects which are currently underway or recently completed which will directly contribute to this effort in one way or another. A few of the more important projects have been highlighted here, including: TRB and FHWA pilot studies of data collection, NCHRP 22-33 and many past in-service performance evaluations (ISPEs).

A TRB special study is currently under way which includes “… exploratory work in selected states” [TRB14] on collecting data for the in-service performance of w-beam guardrail terminals. It does not appear that any conclusions will be made relative to field performance from the collected data. The TRB special study committee, however, recently released a report which served to “… advise states on the existing process of conducting in-service evaluations of guardrail end treatments.” [TRB14]

The FHWA office of Safety Research and Development is, in parallel with the TRB special study committee, conducting a pilot data collection program for w-beam terminals to document good practices for real-time crash data collection and interagency communication. The FHWA will not perform analysis or form conclusions from this pilot data collection program. [FHWA17] While each of these studies are limited in scope to only w-beam terminals, these studies will inform the early stages of this effort and serve to update the data collection protocols outlined in NCHRP 490 with recent advances in technology. [Ray03]

Privately funded and state funded ISPEs have been ongoing for more than 40 years. These various studies are too voluminous to list here. Each of these individual ISPEs provides insight into the data limitations and possibilities for improved data collection. In addition to ISPEs, states some states have begun mobile developing data collection apps for the purpose of asset management and/or assessing the field performance of roadside hardware. Examples of these states include: Texas, Iowa, and Minnesota.

NCHRP 22-33, “Multi-State In-Service Performance Evaluations of Roadside Safety Hardware” is currently underway. Among other tasks such as identifying collaborative approaches across state lines for conducting ISPEs, NCHRP 22-33 is also developing a list of idealized database elements for conducting ISPEs. This list will inform this this proposed research effort.

References

FHWA17 Arispe, E., “Pilot In-Service Performance Evaluation of Guardrail End Terminals,” Office of Safety Research and Development, Federal Highway Administration, Presentation to AFB20 Roadside Data Needs and Applications Gathering, Transportation Research Board Annual Meeting, 2017.

Ray03 M. H. Ray, MJ. Weir, and J. Hopp, “In-Service Performance of Traffic Barriers,” National Cooperative Highway Research Program Report 490, National Academy of Sciences, Washington, D.C., 2003.

TRB14 “In-Service Performance of Energy-absorbing W-beam Guardrail End Treatments: Phase 1,” TRB-SASP-14-05, Studies and Special Programs Divisions, Transportation Research Board, accessed online http://www8.nationalacademies.org/cp/projectview.aspx?key=49696, accessed January 13, 2017.

Tasks:

The following tasks are proposed:

a. Conduct a literature review of documented research to identify best practices of existing tools currently utilized by Agencies for crash data collection tools and methodology;

b. Develop improved recommendations and a tool for first responders and DOT maintenance personnel at crash scene for easy and efficient collection of crash data;

c. Conduct a pilot testing to determine efficiency of the newly developed tool and associated guidelines;

d. Develop plans, including workshops, for disseminating newly developed tool and associated guideline to interested agencies.

Implementation:

This research would result in improved recommendations and a tool that can use for the efficient collection of in-service performance data for roadside safety features. A portion of the project should be dedicated to pilot testing the developed tool and associated guidelines as well as developing plans for disseminating the tool to interested agencies. It is anticipated that the improved guidelines and tool would better support state DOT personnel charged with maintaining roadside inventory data.

Sponsoring Committee:AFB20, Roadside Safety Design
Research Period:12 - 24 months
Research Priority:High
RNS Developer:Keith Cota, Douglas Gabauer, Christine Carrigan, and Chiara Silvestri Dobrovolny
Source Info:2018 AFB20 Midyear Meeting, Austin, TX
Date Posted:01/15/2019
Date Modified:01/25/2019
Index Terms:Crash data, Data collection, Crash analysis, Performance measurement, Barriers (Roads), Roadside structures, Highway safety,
Cosponsoring Committees: 
Subjects    
Highways
Data and Information Technology
Safety and Human Factors

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