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The contents of this report reflect the views of the author(s), who is responsible for the facts and the accuracy of the data presented herein. The contents do not necessarily reflect the official views or policies of the Virginia Department of Transportation, the Commonwealth Transportation Board, or the Federal Highway Administration. This report does not constitute a standard, specification, or regulation. Any inclusion of manufacturer names, trade names, or trademarks is for identification purposes only and is not to be considered an endorsement.

Title:

Development and Evaluation of Virginia's Highway Safety Corridor Program
Authors:
Read, Stephen W.
Michael D. Fontaine
Michael D. Fontaine
Year: 2006
VTRC No.: 06-R30
Abstract: On July 1, 2003, legislation went into effect that established a highway safety corridor (HSC) program for Virginia. The intent of the HSC program is to address safety concerns through a combination of law enforcement, education, and engineering countermeasures. Fines for violations in the highway safety corridors are doubled, subject to a $200 minimum for criminal infractions and a $500 maximum for traffic offenses. The Code of Virginia required the Commonwealth Transportation Commissioner, in conjunction with the Commissioner of the Department of Motor Vehicles and the Superintendent of the Virginia State Police, to develop criteria for designating and evaluating highway safety corridors. The legislation required that this process include a review of "crash data, accident reports, type and volume of vehicular traffic, and engineering and traffic studies." This report documents the results of a study to develop a method to designate HSCs on Virginia's interstate and primary systems. The impacts of the HSC program on interstate crashes and speeds are also presented. The framework for the interstate program described was adopted and applied by the Virginia Department of Transportation, resulting in the installation of three HSCs around the state. The results of an evaluation of the data for 2004 indicate that the program did not produce a benefit in terms of safety or speed reduction, although the results were based on only 1 year of data. Preliminary crash data for 2005 indicate that a positive safety benefit may have occurred at the I-81 and I-95 Richmond HSCs. A rigorous analysis of the 2005 data could not be performed since comparison site data were not yet available, but the preliminary data seem promising. The HSC program currently does not have any dedicated resources with which countermeasures may be implemented; this may limit the potential effectiveness of the program. Additional effects might be observed if dedicated resources were available to allow a more systematic approach to enforcement, education, and engineering within the designated HSCs. Further analysis of the HSCs using at least two more years of data should be performed to gain a more accurate picture of whether the HSCs have had a positive safety benefit.