An Innovative and Simple Redesign of Roads in Sweden can Saves Lives Around the World

An accepted name for the new design is simply the ‘Swedish 2 + 1 road with wire rope median.’

Central guardrail / crash barrier on a rural road -- a Swedish road safety innovation.
This excellent feature for busy rural roads actually comes from Sweden, where it is known as a ‘2+1’ road.  A cable barrier or – as here – a solid barrier is placed, without a raised median, between opposing traffic.  Often there are two lanes in one direction and one in the other, but this alternates from one side to the other periodically, to permit overtaking. The result? No deadly head-on collisions… a major safety improvement.   (Copyright image, 2019.)

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Automated systems need stronger safeguards to keep drivers focused on the road

March 14, 2020

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety [IIHS] has issued a set of research-based safety recommendations on the design of partially automated driving systems. The guidelines emphasize how to keep drivers focused on the road even as the vehicle does more of the work.

Several Level 2 systems, such as the one in this Mercedes-Benz GLE-Class, can already execute lane changes automatically, but IIHS researchers recommend against enabling that feature.

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A New Roundabout on Ohio 53 near Terra State Community College is Not Safe. But WHY?

The headline of this piece immediately begs a question:  How can a recently-built ‘modern roundabout’ be unsafe?  Their specific purpose is the exact opposite — to increase safety and also facilitate a good traffic flow, but both of these tasks require that roundabouts are well designed for the specific location.  So what’s going so badly wrong?

Roundabout adjacent to Terra State Community College, on Ohio 53, that has been the site of many crashes and one death.   (Photo via Fremont News-Messenger)

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Florida HP Troopers Teach Road Safety to Pedestrians – but is this even appropriate?

The video in the attached article from Wink News hits the nail squarely on the head in an opening comment:  “Troopers are working to keep you safe on a dangerous stretch of roadway in Fort Myers…

Whether it was planned or accidental, the TV channel has identified the real rogue in this situation — the dreadful design, in safety terms, of the road itself.

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The Cost of Road Safety Improvements

Various areas have today announced planned spending on road engineering projects to enhance traffic safety, and two of these are Allegheny and Westmoreland counties, in Pennsylvania.

Copyright image, 2019.

What follows is a list showing the costs of just a few of the improvements, so that readers can understand just how expensive such things can be:

  • Coraopolis Borough – $205,000 to upgrade a traffic signal installation;
  • Shaler Township – $308,000 to install a new traffic signal;
  • South Park Township – $199,975 to construct an auxiliary left turn lane;
  • West View Borough – $12,682 to install overhead pedestrian crossing signs;
  • Latrobe – $122,000 to install electronic flashing school zone speed limit warning devices

For a full list of projects, totalling $13.1 million in PA alone, click here.

Notorious railroad crossings in Oxnard, California

Highway 34 is an east-west road between the towns of Oxnard and Camarillo, California which is closely paralleled by a Union Pacific railroad track. There are some north south roads that cross or intersect ‘5th street’, as highway 34 is known locally. At these intersections there are traffic lights, and at-grade railroad crossings.

(Copyright image, 2019.)

The intersections at Rose Avenue, Rice Avenue, and Del Norte Boulevard have been the sites of multiple road vehicle and train collisions. Traveling south on Rose avenue on the approach to the 5th street traffic light there is an at grade railroad crossing with only enough room to accommodate one or two cars between the railroad track and the traffic lights (see video below). There is not enough room to accommodate a tractor trailer, and often these large vehicles will be stopped at the traffic light with the trailer straddling the railroad tracks. The video is a record of one such incident that was also shown on several TV shows.
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