The paper discusses the results of a study on safety strategies for rural roads performed by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). The OECD is an international organization that represents the 29 most highly developed nations in the world. Rural roads constitute between 50 and 95% of the road system in many OECD countries. Each year, nearly 75,000 people are killed on rural roads in OECD countries. These deaths are accompanied by economic costs on the order of $120 billion (U.S. dollars) per year. The OECD therefore created an Expert Group composed of representatives from 14 countries to examine the problems and propose strategies for improving the situation. Over the course of two years, the Expert Group developed, discussed and revised materials related to rural road safety before arriving at a set of conclusions and recommendations. A final report has been published by OECD. The report recommends that safety should receive explicit attention at every level of the process, from the decision to build or rebuild a road to the planning and design stages, through construction and during operation and maintenance. Within this context, the report suggests that the basis of a safe rural road design is a consistent, hierarchical road network, in which each road category has a particular function to fulfill. Also, the design of the road should be consistent with the function and in accordance with the lowest functional use of the road. Several specific safety-related rural road design characteristics are covered in the report, including cross-section, intersections, alignment, and transition zones between rural and built-up areas. Design elements related to vulnerable road users, i.e., bicyclists and pedestrians, and forgiving roadsides are also covered. A main recommendation in the report is that every OECD member country should develop a rural road safety improvement strategy. Though the report covers such areas as trauma management and Intelligent Transportation Systems applications and encourages their incorporation into an integrated approach, it concludes that infrastructure-related measures, especially design, and police enforcement are essential ingredients. The paper discusses the design-related safety aspects covered in the report as well as introducing the other safety countermeasures that were proposed.

  • Supplemental Notes:
    • The publisher's German name is Forschungsgesellschaft fur Strassen- und Verkehrswesen (FGSV).
  • Corporate Authors:

    Road and Transportation Research Association

    Postbox 50 13 62
    D-50973 Cologne,   Germany 
  • Authors:
    • Hasson, P
  • Conference:
  • Publication Date: 2000-6


  • English

Media Info

  • Features: Figures; References; Tables;
  • Pagination: p. 145-157

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 00794774
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Report/Paper Numbers: FGSV 002/67
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Jun 23 2000 12:00AM