Application of MASH Test Criteria to Breakaway Sign and Luminaire Supports and Crashworthy Work-Zone Traffic Control Devices

Recent crash testing of small and medium sign supports and work-zone devices has been problematic for both of the test vehicles required in the 2009 AASHTO Manual for Assessing Safety Hardware (MASH). Many of these designs have previously been successfully full-scale crash tested under NCHRP Report 350: Recommended Procedures for the Safety Performance Evaluation of Highway Features. Only the small car (1800-lb, Geo Metro or similar) test was performed under NCHRP Report 350. MASH requires testing with both a small car (2420-lb, Kia Rio or similar) and a pickup truck (5000-lb, ½-ton Dodge Quad Cab or similar) into these types of devices. Occupant Impact Velocities (OIVs) and Occupant Ride-Down Accelerations (ORAs) have not been a problem because of the increased weight of the test vehicles, even with the commensurate reduction in impact speed in MASH Test 3-60. However, the change in frontal geometry (i.e., bumper heights, increased frontal area, and wrap around distances) and increased ground clearance has changed the interaction between the vehicle and object struck. In general, small and medium sign supports used to pass over the top of the impacting vehicle with limited or no vehicle contact. With the newer MASH test vehicles, sign supports are now striking the windshield and roof of the test vehicles and failing the occupant compartment intrusion and/or penetration requirements of MASH. Similarly, vehicle collisions with portable work-zone devices are causing unacceptable windshield and roof penetrations and/or deformations as well as floor pan penetrations. No testing has been conducted to date on luminaires (light poles) under MASH, but this recent testing on other breakaway and portable work-zone devices raises questions as to the expected performance of breakaway luminaire poles under the MASH impact safety criteria. The addition of objective vehicle intrusion and deformation criteria has also brought into question the future usefulness of pendulum/bogie testing of breakaway and crashworthy designs. The objective of this research is to identify and evaluate the crash performance of breakaway sign and luminaire supports and crashworthy work-zone traffic control devices that are non-proprietary and commonly used. The evaluation should address their in-service safety performance, potential failure modes (and, if possible, design modifications that might address those failure modes), and their likelihood to comply with the current MASH crash test criteria.


  • English


  • Status: Completed
  • Funding: $879135
  • Contract Numbers:

    Project 03-119

  • Sponsor Organizations:

    Federal Highway Administration

    1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
    Washington, DC  United States  20590

    American Association of State Highway & Transportation Officials (AASHTO)

    444 North Capitol Street, NW, Suite 225
    Washington, DC  United States  20001

    National Cooperative Highway Research Program

    Transportation Research Board
    500 Fifth Street, NW
    Washington, DC  United States  20001
  • Project Managers:

    Crichton-Sumners, C

  • Performing Organizations:

    George Mason University

    Fairfax, VA  United States  22030
  • Principal Investigators:

    Marzougui, Dhafer

  • Start Date: 20150928
  • Expected Completion Date: 20231130
  • Actual Completion Date: 20231130
  • Source Data: RiP Project 37560

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01543189
  • Record Type: Research project
  • Source Agency: Transportation Research Board
  • Contract Numbers: Project 03-119
  • Files: TRB, RIP
  • Created Date: Nov 12 2014 1:00AM