Increasing Driver Safety One Traffic Sign at a Time
How do roadway signs affect driver safety and, when it comes to visibility, does brighter always mean better? How long do traffic signs really last and how can we better maintain our existing signage to save money? From sign management and maintenance to sign life expectancy and retroreflectivity, the Minnesota Local Road Research Board (MN LRRB) has developed several resources to help local agencies administer their traffic signage.
The July 2015 issue of the APWA Reporter highlights four of these sign-related projects funded by the LRRB in an article titled “Increasing Driver Safety One Traffic Sign at a Time.” These resources, which promote driver safety by supporting Minnesota’s Toward Zero Deaths (TZD) initiative, include:
• Traffic Sign Management and Maintenance Online Training Course
• Sign Retroreflectivity Toolkit
• Traffic Sign Life Expectancy Research Project
• Updated Traffic Sign Maintenance and Management Handbook
To learn more, please visit the full APWA Reporter article: Increasing Driver Safety One Traffic Sign at a Time
- August 17, 2015
Minnesota, Are you Ready to Mumble?
Although they serve as an effective warning to drivers, rumble strips can cause unwanted noise for nearby landowners when a vehicle drifts over a centerline or edgeline. Luckily, Minnesota may have found a quieter rumble strip in California. A comparison study along a rural highway near Crookston shows that California’s standard wave-shaped rumble strip design outperforms Minnesota’s and Pennsylvania’s by producing less external noise and generating tones that are less abrupt in a rural environment while still adequately alerting drivers inside the vehicle.
Click here to read the full article.
- May 15, 2015
Online Training Courses Now Available
Registration is now open for two online training courses sponsored by LRRB: Sign Maintenance and Management and Culvert Installation and Maintenance. The Sign Maintenance course, which stems from the new Minnesota Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MN MUTCD) requirements, provides a concise, cohesive set of sign maintenance and management materials to employees of cities, counties and municipalities. This class is designed to help agencies develop and maintain plans and processes to meet MN MUTCD standards.
The Culvert Installation and Maintenance course was developed for engineers, supervisors, and technicians, particularly those who install and maintain culverts and who perform simple designs. The course will provide students with a basic understanding of the principles of culvert theory, design, location, planning, scheduling, permitting and typical installations. It also outlines culvert inventory, inspection, repair, and rehabilitation methods.
Click here to read the full article.
Visit the course pages for more information or to register:
Click here for Sign Maintenance
Click here for Culvert Installation and Maintenance
- March 11, 2015
New LRRB YouTube Videos Available Online
The Minnesota Local Road Research Board (LRRB) has recently produced several new YouTube videos, which are available on the MnDOT Research Services YouTube channel. Video descriptions and links are also included below.
What is the LRRB?
Learn how the LRRB supports and shares the latest transportation research applications with the state’s city and county engineers.
Answers to Common Questions about Gravel Roads
More than half of U.S. roadways are gravel roads, making them an important part of our transportation system. Learn about gravel road construction, common problems with gravel roads, and how to keep a gravel road in the best condition.
Construction Zone Safety: Our Responsibility
Scott Gabrio, a MnDOT maintenance worker who was seriously injured by a distracted driver in a construction zone, shares his story and discusses how we can prevent similar accidents from happening in the future.
De-Icing Study: Putting the Products to the Test
Watch as MnDOT-funded researchers transform the parking lots of Valleyfair and Canterbury Park in Shakopee, Minn., into driving tracks to study the effects of weather and vehicle traffic on different deicing treatments.
Frost Damage in Pavement
Frost-damaged roads can be a major pain (and expense) for public works agencies and road users. Learn the major causes and cures of frost damage.
Minnesota Bike Lanes: Learning to Share
Join the discussion as we talk with pedestrians, cyclists, and motorists in Minnesota to identify some common misconceptions about bike lanes.
Navigating a Multi-Lane Roundabout
This video shows drivers how to navigate a multi-lane roundabout and what to do when large vehicles and emergency vehicles are traveling through the roundabout.
Road Closed Signs: Beware and be Aware
Learn the dangers of entering a construction area and the importance of obeying Road Closed signs.
Sign Life Expectancy Research Project
Researcher Howard Preston explains what MnDOT is doing to learn the life expectancy of traffic signs.
Why Aren’t They Working on My Road?
Ever wonder why your road isn’t being repaired? This video explains why roads go bad and why the worst roads are sometimes the last to be fixed.
- June 12, 2014
Impact of Flashing LED Stop Signs on Crash Reduction
In an effort to improve safety at stop sign-controlled intersections, several communities have installed flashing LED stop signs at select intersections throughout the state. Researchers are optimistic that because stop signs enhanced with flashing light-emitting diodes (LED) are more visible to drivers, they will hopefully reduce the number of right-angle crashes. Given the statewide interest in this strategy, the Local Road Research Board conducted a study to evaluate the impact of flashing stop signs on safety and driver behavior.
Initial research confirms at least some safety benefit to the signs. For example, the statistical analysis of 15 intersections predicts that installing flashing LED stop signs can reduce the frequency of right-angle crashes by nearly 42 percent. (It is important to note that with a 95 percent confidence interval, it is impossible to state the magnitude of crash reduction with statistical certainty; this reduction could actually be anywhere between zero and 71.8 percent.)
Field studies using portable video equipment also indicate that at intersections with LED signs, drivers were much more likely to stop when opposing traffic was present (10.6 clear stops for every clear nonstop after installation compared with 4.2 stops for every nonstop before installation). When no opposing traffic was present, however, there was no change in behavior after installing the flashing LED sign; approximately four drivers did not clearly stop for every driver who did stop.
While no further research is planned, MnDOT will continue to monitor the intersections with flashing LED stop signs to collect more data about their impact on safety. To learn more, click here and view the full report.
- May 23, 2014
New Work Zone Safety Videos
The Local Road Research Board recently produced a pair of new work zone safety videos. Click on the links below, or browse these and other videos on the LRRB Resources page.
- November 24, 2014