Summer 2016 (Vol. 55, No. 2)

Safety Impacts of Converting Two-Way Left-Turn Lanes to Raised Medians and Associated Design Concerns

Abstract

Raised medians and two-way left-turn lanes (TWLTLs) are the two most common types of median treatments on arterial streets. This paper aims to conduct a detailed study on the safety impacts of conversion from TWLTLs to raised medians on state roads in Florida. In addition, the study also investigated several potential safety concerns related to raised medians on state roads, including crashes at median openings, vehicles directly hitting the median curb, and median crossover crashes. Based on data availability, 17.51 miles of urban arterial sections in Florida that were converted from TWLTLs to raised medians were analyzed. Police reports of all the crashes before and after median conversion were reviewed to correct miscoded crash types and obtain additional detailed crash information. Overall, a 28.5% reduction in total crash rate was observed after the 10 study locations were converted from TWLTLs to raised medians. The reductions in the proportions of left-turn and right-turn crashes were statistically significant, while the changes in the proportions of other crash types were not statistically significant. Furthermore, the crash data did not show evidence that raised medians are an additional hazard compared with TWLTLs.

by Priyanka Alluri, Albert Gan, and Kirolos Haleem

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