Safety Infrastructure Improvement Programs
Along with enforcement and education, another key component of traffic safety is engineering. PennDOT performs numerous engineering improvements to enhance your safety along the highways.
Low-Cost Safety Improvement Program
Each year, PennDOT invests approximately $10 million in state funding to implement low-cost safety improvements throughout the state. Examples of these projects include:
Centerline, Edgeline and Shoulder Rumble Strips
Rumble strips are raised or grooved patterns that differ in texture from the road surface and produce a rumbling sound and cause the vehicle to vibrate when a vehicle's tires pass over them. The noise and vibration produced by rumble strips are effective alarms for drivers who are leaving their lane of the roadway. The number of fatalities in head-on crashes has declined by 47 percent since 2000 thanks to the installation of more than 5,000 miles of centerline rumble strips.
Yield to Pedestrian Channelizing Devices
To enhance pedestrian safety at intersections, PennDOT offers free Yield to Pedestrian Channelizing Devices to municipalities. The signs should be deployed to intersections with a documented pedestrian crash history or a location where pedestrians have trouble crossing because motorists fail to yield.
PennDOT has dispensed more than 11,000 units since the program began in 2001. Research shows that motorists were 30 to 40 percent more likely to yield to pedestrians when these devices were present.
Warning of Curve Ahead
PennDOT enhances advanced curve warning through the use of pavement markings applied directly to the roadway, as well as signs indicating curve ahead.
Cable Median Barrier
Cable median barriers are life-saving traffic devices for use in existing medians to prevent cross-over crashes. They are one of the most-effective safety measures deployed to protect motorists on highways. As of January 2016, there were 206 miles of cable median barrier installed throughout the state.
Highway Safety Improvement Program
Each year, PennDOT receives approximately $92 million in federal funding for its Highway Safety Improvement Program (HSIP). The department distributes $45.5 million of this funding to its planning regions based on fatalities, major injuries and reportable crashes. Each planning organization receives $500,000 to allow for larger projects in the smaller planning organizations. The remaining $35 million is awarded annually to implement low- to moderate-cost systemic infrastructure safety improvements.
The overall purpose of this program is to achieve a significant reduction in traffic fatalities and serious injuries on state roads through the implementation of medium-cost infrastructure-related highway safety improvements.
New Efforts Are Being Driven by Our Office
High Friction Surface Treatment
Maintaining the appropriate amount of pavement friction is critical for safe driving. To enhance safety at locations known to have a history of wet-pavement-related crashes, Pennsylvania has begun using pavement treatments that increase friction. These high friction surface treatments, or HFS, are pavement-surfacing systems with exceptional skid-resistant properties not typically provided by conventional materials. HFS is applied in spot treatments to provide a durable, long-lasting pavement surface that helps to improve pavement friction in both wet and dry conditions. It is especially effective at locations where wet-pavement crashes are common.
Through August 2014, PennDOT has installed high friction surface treatment at 42 locations in Pennsylvania in an effort to prevent crashes and save lives. Moving forward, PennDOT continues to evaluate this surface treatment and has identified additional locations throughout the state that would benefit from this innovative technique.