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Federal Highway Administration Research and Technology
Coordinating, Developing, and Delivering Highway Transportation Innovations

This report is an archived publication and may contain dated technical, contact, and link information
Date: October 1986

Roadside Improvements for Local Roads and Streets




This pamphlet is intended as a general guide to effective, low cost methods of improving and enhancing roadside safety. It is not intended as a design manual or a substitute for engineering knowledge, experience, or judgement. Technical safety hardware information such as hardware standards, warrants for selecting safety hardware, installation details, and cost-effectiveness analysis can be found in the material listed in the references. The guidelines and examples included in the pamphlet are based on actual situations and observations made in a series of national reviews. They reflect the actual needs and opportunities for highway safety improvements existing on many local roads and streets.

There are three general types of changes that can be made to improve highway safety. These include:

  • Roadway Improvements help drivers stay on the roadway and in their own lanes and consist of improvements made to the geometric features of the roadway such as lane and shoulder width, horizontal and vertical alignment, and pavement cross slope. Roadway improvements can reduce the number of accidents occurring by providing consistent and uniform conditions and improve driving comfort.

  • Operational Improvements provide the driver with necessary and important information and consist of improvements generally made to the signs, pavement markings, traffic signals, delineation, and other features. Operational improvements are often used to supplement or mitigate the effects of substandard or unexpected roadway features by providing the driver with information on potential hazards ahead or establishing rules (speed limit, etc.) under which the section of road can be safely negotiated.

  • Roadside Improvements provide the driver with a better chance of recovering from an accident and/or reduce the potential severity of accidents along the edge of the highway. These improvements include such work as slope flattening, culvert extensions, tree removal, ditch shaping, installing guardrail.

This pamphlet deals only with the area of Roadside Improvements.


Roadside Improvements for Local Roads and Streets

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