From research to practice – development of rural curve mass treatment program
Rural road curves provide one the most challenging features to be negotiated by drivers on high speed rural roads. As a result, many drivers make errors resulting in run-off-road and head-on casualty crashes. It has been estimated that such curve crashes on curves account for 18% of all serious casualty crashes on rural roads in Victoria. In order to address this problem VicRoads funded ARRB to investigate and develop a rural mass curve treatment program.
This paper presents overseas and local research background leading to development of an engineering model for categorising curves according to their crash risk. The risk model prioritised curves to the right, with greater approach speed, change in speed, narrower pavement and a steeper downhill grade. The paper then then describes how this research was used to propose an economically viable $100 million road safety funding program using standardised delineation treatment packages applicable to each curve along a route. Such an approach is expected to provide a consistent level of curve delineation and warning, and thus, condition drivers to better respond to the crash risk of the curves ahead. The program is proposed to be applied on selected rural routes with a history of run-off-road and head-on casualty crashes. It is expected the program will save 28 lives and 315 serious injuries over the treatment life.