In recent research of wrong-way (WW) crashes conducted by Auburn University, the average annual economic loss due to WW crashes was estimated to be about two billion dollars in the United States. This study identified contributing factors and proposed new methods for determining the WW entry points and for identifying the high crash locations for improvements. Another study by the National Transportation Safety Board also concluded that countermeasures were needed. There is a need "to establish through traffic control devices and improved highway designs--distinctly different views for motorists approaching entrance and exit ramps." Thus, a research project funded by Roadway Safety Institute (RSI) has been conducted to develop conceptual design of directional rumble strips (DRS) for use at exit ramps to provide acoustical and vibrational warnings to WW drivers. This research project will be completed by the end of year 2017. The key outcomes and achievements of this project include two research awards, two journal publications, and four conference presentations.
Over the past ten years, various countermeasures have been tested and implemented by state and local transportation agencies. Common countermeasures have been implemented at off-ramp terminals to prevent WW entries, including traditional WW-related signs and standard pavement markings (WW arrows). Few advanced Intelligent Transportation System (ITS) technologies were implemented at rural interchanges due to the lack of quick emergency responses in rural areas. Past studies found that traditional WW-related signs or pavement markings might not be effective for impaired drivers during the night or in low visibility conditions. ITS technologies request a quick emergency response and are often used in urban areas by tollway authorities where advanced traffic management centers are available to monitor wrong-way driving (WWD) activities and can provide a quick response.
This proposal is implementing and evaluating three final design patterns of DRSs developed by an RSI project. A before-and-after study will be conducted to evaluate their effectiveness. An installation guideline will be developed for transportation agencies to implement this low-cost countermeasure in their jurisdictions.