Research Reports

The Vehicle Speed Impacts of a Dynamic Horizontal Curve Warning Sign on Low-Volume Local Roadways

Principal Investigator:

Keith K Knapp, Ferrol Robinson

May 2012

Report no. CTS 12-12

Projects: Minnesota Horizontal Curve Safety Improvement Project

Topics: Rural Transportation, Safety

This research project evaluated the vehicle speed impacts of a dynamic curve warning sign (DCWS) at three study sites on low-volume, local rural highways. Vehicle speed data were collected one month before and one month, six months, one year, and 18 months after the installation of a DCWS at the visually identified point of curvature (PC). Data were collected at three locations within each study site. These locations were the PC, within the curve, and at an approach tangent control. Before and after differences in average speed were calculated for vehicles traveling into the horizontal curve. The overall range of differences in the unadjusted average vehicle speeds at the PC was -8.8 mph to -1.0 mph. This range changes to -8.6 mph to +1.9 mph after a naive adjustment of these differences for the average vehicle speed changes at the control locations. It was concluded that the DCWS appeared to have larger impact at horizontal curves with lower advisory speeds and on the number of higher speed vehicles. It is recommended that the installation of DCWSs on low-volume roadways be considered on a case-by-case basis and that a lower-cost version of the sign evaluated be explored.

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