Title

SAFETY EVALUATION OF CENTERLINE RUMBLE STRIPS: CRASH AND DRIVER BEHAVIOR ANALYSIS

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date

2004

Subject Area

infrastructure - vehicle, planning - safety/accidents, ridership - drivers, ridership - behaviour, economics - appraisal/evaluation

Keywords

Rumble strips, Road safety, Motor vehicle operators, Massachusetts, Improvements, Human behavior, Highway safety, Driving simulators, Drivers, Centerlines, Center lines, Behaviour, Behavior, Before and after studies, Automobile driving simulators, Accident analysis

Abstract

The effectiveness of centerline rumble strips in reducing cross-over-the-centerline crashes and improving the safety of undivided roadways was evaluated. Twenty U.S. states, along with several Canadian provinces, are currently using centerline rumble strips. A detailed analysis of crashes on State Routes 2, 20, and 88 in Massachusetts before and after installation of centerline rumble strips showed no significant change in crash frequencies; however, no fatal crashes have occurred on State Routes 2 and 88 since the installation of centerline rumble strips. Three cross-over-the-centerline fatal crashes did occur on State Route 20 after the centerline rumble strips were installed; centerline rumble strips were not a countermeasure to these specific crash types. Driver behavior at shoulder and centerline rumble strips was evaluated with a full-scale driving simulator. Drivers were found to react and correct the vehicle trajectory more quickly with centerline rumble strip encounters than with shoulder rumble strip encounters. About 27% of drivers made an initial leftward correction of their vehicles when encountering centerline rumble strips. Although this percentage may be inflated because of laboratory conditions, there is some probability of a driver confusing centerline rumble strips with shoulder rumble strips and reacting improperly. No improper (rightward) corrections were experienced with shoulder rumble strip scenarios. Centerline rumble strips were found to be effective at gaining drivers' attention and therefore to be an effective traffic control device and safety countermeasure in areas where a history of cross-over-the-centerline fatal and injury crashes occur.