WSU researcher working to make intersections safer

Jan 07, 2013

A Wayne State University researcher is part of a federally funded effort that could lead to safer intersections on our nation's roadways.

Timothy Gates, Ph.D., assistant professor of civil and environmental engineering in the College of Engineering, is the lead WSU investigator on a National Cooperative Highway Research Program project that will better illustrate the connection between roadway safety and available sight distance at intersections controlled by on the minor streets.

Adequate sight distance is necessary at stop-controlled intersections for drivers to assess when it is safe to enter a major roadway. That distance may be limited by objects or roadway features, such as trees, crops, hills, curves, buildings and parked cars.

The Transportation Research Board is funding the two-year project; WSU's portion of the work is funded by $75,000. Titled "Safety Impacts of Intersection Sight Distance," the overall project includes a major nationwide data collection effort and is led by Massachusetts-based traffic services firm Vanasse Hangen Brustlin Inc. Portland State University also is a major participant.

Data will be collected in Ohio, North Carolina and Washington, states that were selected to provide diversity among drivers, topographic features and roadway design standards for the 750 intersections included in the sample. Study sites will include divided and undivided in rural, suburban and urban settings, and in flat and hilly terrain. Gates and his team will cover 250 locations throughout Ohio, while other project team members will work in North Carolina and Washington.

"Our purpose is to determine if there's truly a relationship between crash occurrence and amount of available sight distance at stop-controlled intersections," Gates said. Such a relationship will be determined using regression modeling techniques that will consider not only the sight distance measured at the intersection, but other factors including traffic volume, area type, topography, speed limit, and visual clutter caused by point objects, such as signs, poles and trees.

"We're trying to fit another piece into the safety puzzle that had not yet been addressed at a nationwide level," Gates said.

The results also will provide the basis for developing uniform guidelines for defining and measuring intersection sight distances.

"Our field data ultimately will be used to develop those guidelines, and the only way to get sight-distance data without a robust set of design plans is to go out and collect it," Gates said. "However, engineers need additional guidance toward performing a sight-distance assessment in the field."

Ultimately, project researchers hope their information can be used by groups like the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials, which provides road engineering guidelines for state transportation agencies.

Explore further: Minimally invasive surgery with hydraulic assistance

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Recommended for you

Minimally invasive surgery with hydraulic assistance

2 hours ago

Endoscopic surgery requires great manual dexterity on the part of the operating surgeon. Future endoscopic instruments equipped with a hydraulic control system will provide added support during minimally ...

Analyzing gold and steel – rapidly and precisely

4 hours ago

Optical emission spectrometers are widely used in the steel industry but the instruments currently employed are relatively large and bulky. A novel sensor makes it possible to significantly reduce their size ...

More efficient transformer materials

4 hours ago

Almost every electronic device contains a transformer. An important material used in their construction is electrical steel. Researchers have found a way to improve the performance of electrical steel and ...

Sensor network tracks down illegal bomb-making

4 hours ago

Terrorists can manufacture bombs with relative ease, few aids and easily accessible materials such as synthetic fertilizer. Not always do security forces succeed in preventing the attacks and tracking down ...

Miniature camera may reduce accidents

4 hours ago

Measuring only a few cubic millimeters, a new type of camera module might soon be integrated into future driver assistance systems to help car drivers facing critical situations. The little gadget can be ...

User comments : 1

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

Sophos
not rated yet Jan 07, 2013
Wow ... this is the most important research you that you can post for us ???