||Guidelines for Assessing Guardrail Needs on Two-Lane Rural Roadways in Virginia
Benjamin H. Cottrell, Jr.
Guardrail is installed along the roadside to protect vehicles from hazards such as steep slopes and bridge piers. Although the Virginia Department of Transportation’s (VDOT) Road Design Manual provides guidance for determining where to install guardrail on new facilities, there is no consistent approach available for evaluating guardrail needs on existing roads, when considering costs and benefits.
This project will develop such an approach, focusing on low-volume, two-lane rural roadways. The researchers plan to use the probability-based evaluation software, Roadside Safety Analysis Program (RSAP), to determine expected crash frequencies, severities and costs for reasonable combinations of hazard scenarios, guardrail treatment options and relevant roadway, roadside and traffic characteristics.
The results of the RSAP analysis, along with those from a review of existing practices in other states, will form the basis of the guidelines to be developed as part of this research.