Engineering responses to fatigue
The poor road safety situation in rural and remote areas has been previously identified by Austroads and other bodies as a key area that provides the potential for substantial road safety gains. Austroads initiated a major piece of research that identified fatigue as a major contributing factor to rural and remote crashes, and recommended that research be undertaken to address this issue. The current study had the following aims:
? identify road engineering based measures that may be effective in reducing the incidence of fatigue related crashes in rural and remote areas
? provide an analysis of likely engineering based treatments to combat fatigue, make an assessment on the effectiveness of these measures and identify gaps in knowledge
? identify the most promising types of locations to implement such treatments
? through discussions with jurisdictions, identify the most promising techniques and possible locations for trials
Perhaps one of the most significant issues to emerge from this study is the emergence of a strong hypothesis that the fatigue-related crash risk varies as a function of road geometry and roadside environment. If this is correct then these parameters should be taken into account when locating treatments.
The study identified six major categories of treatments likely to be useful as fatigue countermeasures: rest areas, monotony reduction treatments, perceptual treatments, signage and road markings, audio-tactile treatments and barriers and clear zones. Some novel ways of combining specific treatments, that may be particularly effective as a fatigue countermeasure, are suggested.