Development of a Barrier Design to Accommodate Vehicles, Pedestrians, and Cyclists

There is an urgent need to foster the development, operation, and maintenance of an integrated national transportation system that gives consideration to the presence and safety of non-motorized users. As the number of non-motorized users continues to grow within the United States, crashes between motorists and non-motorized users continue to grow as well. Based on National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) data from 2015, 5,376 pedestrians and 818 bicyclists were killed in crashes with motor vehicles. These two modes accounted for 17.7 percent of the nation’s 35,092 total fatalities in 2015. Unfortunately, a large percentage of our nation’s roadways are not designed to safely accommodate non-motorized users. Thus, non-motorized users such as pedestrians and bicyclists are expected to jointly use facilities that have inadequate lateral offsets between the travel lanes and the non-motorized transportation facilities such as sidewalks and multi-use paths. On many of these facilities, right-of-way, fiscal, and/or geographical constraints prohibit transportation agencies from increasing this offset distance, which leaves agencies with the option of doing nothing or trying to fit some type of positive protection device in between the travel lanes and the non-motorized transportation facility. Currently, no positive barrier systems have been designed specifically for the purpose of providing positive protection between non-motorized transportation facilities and motorized facilities. There is a critical need to develop a new multi-functional barrier system complying with the specific requirements needed for the accommodation of vehicles, pedestrians, and cyclists: affordable from a constructability and installation standpoint; appealing from an aesthetic perspective; takes into consideration adequate and proper sight distance; and designed to safely contain and redirect direct hits away from non-motorized users. The ultimate objective of this proposed research is to develop a barrier system that considers the safety of motorists, pedestrians, and bicycles while satisfying the Proposed Right-of-Way Accessibility Guidelines (PROWAG) and the American Association of State Highway Transportation Officials (AASHTO) Manual for Assessing Safety Hardware (MASH) Test Level 3 requirements. This project would seek to investigate the geometric and design requirements needed to develop and appropriately evaluate a multi-functional barrier system that safely accommodates motorists, pedestrians, and cyclists on roadways that serve multiple modes of transportation. The following tasks are anticipated: (1) literature review of documented national and international research regarding the investigation and adoption of bicycle and pedestrian rail heights; (2) survey of state DOT personnel and international transportation agencies to determine current practices, as well as related needs and concerns regarding combination railing systems; (3) determine available relevant crash data sources to complement needed information; (4) develop a guardrail system design to accommodate motorists, pedestrians, and cyclists; (5) construct full-scale crash test, and evaluate the proposed system to MASH Test Level 3 requirements; (6) develop criteria for placement and use of an appropriate combination traffic-pedestrian-bicycle railing height; and (7) identify appropriate system terminal option(s) for design and evaluation in a future study. Note: The AASHTO Special Committee on Research and Innovation directed that the project should analyze tradeoffs in safety between different modes.  


  • English


  • Status: Proposed
  • Funding: $500000
  • Contract Numbers:

    Project 22-37

  • 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:

    Hartell, Ann

  • Start Date: 20180709
  • Expected Completion Date: 0
  • Actual Completion Date: 0

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01672557
  • Record Type: Research project
  • Source Agency: Transportation Research Board
  • Contract Numbers: Project 22-37
  • Files: TRB, RiP
  • Created Date: Jun 18 2018 3:03PM