Safety Evaluation of Increasing Retroreflectivity of STOP Signs

The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) organized a Pooled Fund Study of 26 States to evaluate low-cost safety strategies as part of its strategic highway safety effort. One of the strategies chosen to be evaluated for this study was STOP signs with increased retroreflectivity. This strategy is intended to reduce the frequency of crashes related to driver unawareness of stop control at unsignalized intersections. Geometric, traffic, and crash data were obtained at unsignalized intersections for 231 sites in Connecticut and 108 sites in South Carolina. In each case, the strategy was implemented as a blanket application of STOP signs with increased retroreflectivity. Empirical Bayes (EB) methods were incorporated in a before-after analysis to determine the safety effectiveness of increasing the sign retroreflectivity. There was a statistically significant reduction in rear-end crashes in South Carolina. Based on the results of the disaggregate analysis, reductions in crashes were found at three-legged intersections and at intersections with low approach volumes. The analysis also indicated a slight reduction in nighttime- and injury-related crashes in Connecticut and South Carolina, but the results were not statistically significant. It was determined that a sample size much larger than that available would be needed to detect a significant effect in these types of crashes. Given the very low cost of installing STOP signs with increased retroreflectivity, even with conservative assumptions, only a very modest reduction in crashes is needed to justify their use. Therefore, this strategy has the potential to reduce crashes cost-effectively, particularly at lower volume intersections.

  • Record URL:
  • Corporate Authors:

    Vanasse Hangen Brustlin, Incorporated

    8300 Boone Boulevard, Suite 700
    Vienna, VA  United States  22182-2626

    Persaud and Lyon, Incorporated

    87 Elmcrest Road
    Toronto, Ontario  Canada  M9C 3R7

    Federal Highway Administration

    Office of Safety Research and Development
    6300 Georgetown Pike
    McLean, VA  United States  22101-2296
  • Authors:
    • Persaud, Bhagwant
    • Lyon, Craig
    • Eccles, Kimberly A
    • Lefler, Nancy X
    • Amjadi, Roya
  • Publication Date: 2008-3


  • English

Media Info

  • Media Type: Web
  • Features: Appendices; Figures; References; Tables;
  • Pagination: 44p

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01104041
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Report/Paper Numbers: FHWA-HRT-08-041
  • Contract Numbers: DTFH61-05-D-00024
  • Created Date: Jul 11 2008 4:30PM