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Coordinating, Developing, and Delivering Highway Transportation Innovations

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Publication Number:  FHWA-HRT-21-014    Date:  August 2021
Publication Number: FHWA-HRT-21-014
Date: August 2021


FHWA Research and Technology Evaluation: High Friction Surface Treatments

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FHWA-HRT-21-014 PDF Cover Image



The Federal Highway Administration's (FHWA) Research and Technology (R&T) Evaluation Program seeks to assess and communicate the benefits of FHWA's R&T efforts; ensure that the organization is expending public resources efficiently and effectively; and build evidence to shape and improve policymaking. FHWA partners with State transportation departments, local agencies, industries, and academia to conduct research on issues of national significance and accelerate adoption and deployment of promising research products.

This report examines how FHWA research on high friction surface treatments influenced the practices of State departments of transportation and contributed to improvements in safety. This report should be of interest to practitioners, researchers, and decisionmakers involved in the planning and execution of safety and infrastructure projects.

Shana V. Baker
Director, Office of Corporate Research,
Technology, and Innovation Management


This document is disseminated under the sponsorship of the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) in the interest of information exchange. The U.S. Government assumes no liability for the use of the information contained in this document.

The U.S. Government does not endorse products or manufacturers. Trademarks or manufacturers' names appear in this report only because they are considered essential to the objective of the document. Such mentions are for informational purposes only and are not intended to reflect a preference, approval, or endorsement of any one product or entity.

Quality Assurance Statement

The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) provides high quality information to serve Government, industry, and the public in a manner that promotes public understanding. Standards and policies are used to ensure and maximize the quality, objectivity, utility, and integrity of its information. FHWA periodically reviews quality issues and adjusts its programs and processes to ensure continuous quality improvement.


Technical Report Documentation Page

1. Report No.


2. Government Accession No.


3 Recipient's Catalog No.


4. Title and Subtitle

FHWA Research and Technology Evaluation: High Friction Surface Treatments

5. Report Date

August 2021

6. Performing Organization Code

OST-R V-321

7. Author(s)

Kaitlin Coppinger, Matthew Keen (ORCID: 0000-0002-3032-9435), Jennifer Gissel, and Lydia Rainville (ORCID: 0000-0003-3641-0012)

8. Performing Organization Report No.


9. Performing Organization Name and Address

Volpe National Transportation Systems Center
55 Broadway
Cambridge, MA 02142

10. Work Unit No. (TRAIS)


11. Contract or Grant No.


12. Sponsoring Agency Name and Address

Office of Corporate Research, Technology, and Innovation Management
Federal Highway Administration
6300 Georgetown Pike
McLean, VA 22101

13. Type of Report and Period Covered

Final Report; 2009–2017

14. Sponsoring Agency Code


15. Supplementary Notes

For this contract and program summary, John Moulden (HRTM-10) is the Research and Technology Program Manager and the Contracting Officer's Representative.

16. Abstract

This evaluation assesses how the Federal Highway Administration's (FHWA's) investment in research on high friction surface treatments (HFSTs) and related activities impact the availability and quality of such research; awareness, knowledge, and attitudes toward HFSTs in the United States; adoption of HFSTs as a safety measure; and safety performance of HFSTs on the U.S. transportation system. Although measuring the effect of specific FHWA activities is difficult, this evaluation found evidence that FHWA improved awareness, knowledge, and attitudes toward HFSTs and expanded the breadth of HFST research and performance data available to States considering technology deployment. The findings suggest FHWA played a key role in accelerating the consideration of HFSTs as a topic of interest, facilitated the exchange of knowledge between States at differing levels of adoption, and helped influence States' deployment of HFSTs. Many States saw a decrease in roadway-departure crashes. While FHWA cannot claim direct responsibility for this reduction, their continued research and promotion of HFSTs have enhanced roadway safety in the United States.

17. Key Words

High friction surface treatments, HFST, roadway departure, safety

18. Distribution Statement

No restrictions. This document is available to the public through the National Technical Information Service, Springfield, VA 22161.

19. Security Classification
(of this report)


20. Security Classification
(of this page)


21. No. of Pages


22. Price


Form DOT F 1700.7 (8-72) Reproduction of completed page authorized




Federal Highway Administration | 1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE | Washington, DC 20590 | 202-366-4000
Turner-Fairbank Highway Research Center | 6300 Georgetown Pike | McLean, VA | 22101