A review of the mix of vehicles and the design of the highway transportation system revealed that safety standards for vehicles, drivers, and highways were technically incompatible. The author notes that energy conservation and efficiency of modes were not issues in 1969 when the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) first studied the question of highway safety standards. However, today they are implicit in policy statements of the U.S. DOT. Also in 1969, NTSB pointed out that every new standard added would some day have to be adjusted for compatibility. Since then, cost of incompatible standards have become apparent in terms of highway system design problems not satisfactorily resolved. In 1971, NTSB pointed out that when equipment is not defined for a certain environment, there would be widely varying efficiency in highway operations. NTSB investigated a major earthquake in southern California and concluded that the key failure was a failure to produce compatible standards that consider highways and bridges as a system. Examples are also given of marine vessels colliding into highway bridges. When the bridges were built, there were no requirements that they be protected because there were no standard definitions of environment used in highway design. The Interstate highway system as a potential major source of fuel saving is briefly discussed. The problem of incompatibility continues unchanged since 1969, except that many more standards have been created. It is felt that system organization of highway transport through compatible standards will improve both fuel efficiency and safety on highways.

Media Info

  • Features: Photos;
  • Pagination: p. 6-10
  • Serial:

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 00167452
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS, TRB
  • Created Date: Feb 16 1978 12:00AM