Effect of Guardrail on Reducing Fatal and Severe Injuries on Freeways: Real-World Crash Data Analysis and Performance Assessment

Although guardrail systems are designed to reduce crash impacts for errant vehicles, the actual effects of in-service guardrail on reducing crash severity have been rarely validated and quantified. This article uses real-world guardrail and crash data to assess the effectiveness of guardrail systems in reducing fatal and severe injury crashes. A roadway departure crash severity model is developed using binary logit model, and statistical proportion tests are conducted to compare roadway departure crash severity with and without guardrail hits. Both methods suggest that hitting guardrail could reduce the probability of fatal and severe injury by about 45% to 50% and that the reduction is statistically significant. A unique approach of this article is to pair each roadway departure crash hitting a guardrail with the corresponding guardrail inventory using advanced spatial analysis technique so that the effects of different guardrail types on crash severity can be explored. The results indicate that strong post W-Beam guardrail results in significantly more fatal and severe crashes as compared with the low tension cable system. The findings of this article provide practical values for developing data-driven and risk-based guardrail investment and cross-asset resource allocation strategies.


  • English

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  • Accession Number: 01675769
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Jun 22 2018 3:00PM