This paper first discusses the current procedure for approving roadside safety hardware as found in National Cooperative Highway Research Program (NCHRP) Report 350. In summary, this procedure is based upon crash tests conducted in accordance with NCHRP Report 350 guidelines and the comparison of crash test results with the evaluation criteria contained in NCHRP Report 350. NCHRP Report 350 is based upon a "practical" worst case scenario. Two vehicles are used to try and bracket the light duty fleet as a whole and the impact conditions chosen are for extreme conditions. The paper then considers future procedures. Here many questions are raised, all of which indicate that there is a serious need to rethink the current procedures for designing roadside safety hardware. Finite element analysis (FEA) is pointed out as one of the most promising techniques for evaluating (and designing) roadside safety hardware. Again questions are raised, such as: Is FEA a better technique? Is it affordable? Does it provide consistent and accurate data? It is also pointed out that, in the development of a new evaluation procedure, collaboration must be sought from all of those involved in the motor vehicle/roadside safety hardware design problem. This would include vehicle manufacturers, roadside safety hardware manufacturers, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), and the States. The next section of this paper discusses current FHWA research activities related to roadside safety hardware. This is followed by a section that addresses the question: Who is involved in roadside safety hardware? The last section of the paper lists the reasons why it is believed that FEA will be the dominant technology in developing future roadside safety hardware.

  • Record URL:
  • Availability:
  • Supplemental Notes:
    • Distribution, posting, or copying of this PDF is strictly prohibited without written permission of the Transportation Research Board of the National Academy of Sciences. Unless otherwise indicated, all materials in this PDF are copyrighted by the National Academy of Sciences. Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
  • Corporate Authors:

    Transportation Research Board

    500 Fifth Street, NW
    Washington, DC  United States  20001
  • Authors:
    • Reagan, J A
  • Conference:
  • Publication Date: 1996-2


  • English

Media Info

  • Features: References;
  • Pagination: p. 76-82
  • Serial:

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 00721431
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS, TRB
  • Created Date: May 10 1996 12:00AM