Wesley Michaelson, a UVA Graduate Research Assistant, has joined the SCR team and hit the ground running. Using VDOT’s crash data system and FHWA’s Every Day Counts Round 5 Initiative (EDC-5) for Reducing Rural Roadway Departures (FoRRRwD), Wesley has developed a method to identify locations where higher than expected road departure and lane departure crashes occur on a locality’s road system. We expanded that information to identify low cost countermeasures customized for each location to reduce those road or lane departure crash types in the future.

Lilith Zarling designed a video now posted on the UVA Transportation Training Academy’s Resources Video Library – “Rural Roadway Departures 2” that includes footage showing examples of roadway departure countermeasures and the impact to help driver’s stay in their lane and to help reduce the potential and severity of rural roadway departure crashes.

Michaelson’s method begins with isolating crash types that are associated with lane and roadway departures. Examples of these crashes include: whether the vehicle in the reported crash hit trees, a utility pole or fence, ran off the road, overturned or crossed the road centerline. Next, Michaelson finds the location of higher than expected numbers of these types of crashes using a system called Equivalent Property Damage Only (EPDO). An EPDO system helps to score locations of these higher than expected road and lane departure crashes using crash severity with a score for fatalities, serious injury, injuries and property damage only.

After finding these locations, the SCR team examines the crash descriptions and information in the crash report summaries to come up with recommended countermeasures and order of magnitude costs for each location. Ideas include conducting a curve speed study, installation of High Friction Surface Treatment (HFST), wet reflective pavement marking or adding chevron curve warning signs, among others.

Check out the “Rural Roadway Departures 2” video – you’ll enjoy seeing and hearing what motorists including you experience every day! Here is the link:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d4Fx2f3oLtc&t=61s


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