Synthesis of Information Related to Highway Practices. Topic 54-13. Truck Escape Ramp Design and Operation

Transportation agencies build and operate escape ramps to allow heavy vehicles that cannot maintain safe speeds on steep downgrades to safely exit the highway before losing control and crashing. Escape ramps involve important design choices specific to roadway, terrain, and vehicle characteristics. Some escape ramps use upward-sloping beds of loose aggregate to slow the vehicles, while others employ passive or active mechanical devices such as cables to retard their motion. The use of escape ramps also requires operational choices. Some agencies use intelligent transportation technologies to detect trucks that are exceeding or may soon exceed speeds appropriate for the vehicle and the location, and to warn drivers of the need and means to exit the roadway. Because design and operations practices vary significantly among locations and agencies, no common design standards or recommended practices exist. Brake failures on heavy vehicles descending steep grades often result in serious crashes and fatalities. The objective of this synthesis is to document practices used by state departments of transportation (DOTs) to design and operate facilities to detect, guide, and capture out-of-control vehicles travelling on steep downgrades.


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  • Status: Active
  • Funding: $55000
  • Contract Numbers:

    Project 20-05, Topic 54-13

  • Sponsor Organizations:

    National Cooperative Highway Research Program

    Transportation Research Board
    500 Fifth Street, NW
    Washington, DC  United States  20001

    American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO)

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

    Federal Highway Administration

    1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
    Washington, DC  United States  20590
  • Project Managers:

    Gause, Jo

  • Performing Organizations:

    University of Missouri, Kansas City

    Department of Civil Engineering
    5100 Rockhill Road, Flarsheim Hall
    Kansas City, MO  United States  64110
  • Principal Investigators:

    Brown, Henry

  • Start Date: 20220429
  • Expected Completion Date: 0
  • Actual Completion Date: 0

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01845327
  • Record Type: Research project
  • Source Agency: Transportation Research Board
  • Contract Numbers: Project 20-05, Topic 54-13
  • Files: TRB, RIP
  • Created Date: May 16 2022 5:37PM