Researchers in the Crashworthy Structures Program work closely with public- and private-sector sponsors on the development, construction, testing, and evaluation of highway safety appurtenances and perimeter security devices.
Highway safety appurtenances are developed to reduce injuries to occupants of errant vehicles. Depending on the highway safety device, it may be subjected to as many as eight different full-scale crash tests in accordance with National Cooperative Highway Program (NCHRP) Report 350, Recommended Procedure for the Safety Performance Evaluation of Highway Features. Procedures used in the course of developing, testing, and evaluating highway safety appurtenances include: static load tests, pendulum or bogie tests, and full-scale crash tests.
Perimeter security devices are developed to prevent or control ingress and egress to sensitive sites, such as U.S. embassies, nuclear power plants, and military installations. Perimeter security devices are rigorously tested to the U.S. State Department standards to evaluate the arrestment or stoppage of vehicle-borne terrorist threats. In support of these research projects, the Construction Section and the Evaluation and Reporting Section are included in this program:
- The Construction Section fabricates prototype devices and constructs full-scale test installations. This section works very closely with the engineers and sponsors to assure proper installation of the test article.
- The Evaluation and Reporting Section provides an interdisciplinary approach to experiment planning, testing, data reduction and analysis, and report writing. This section is responsible for analyzing and evaluating data collected in various test programs and preparing test reports documenting the test procedures and results. Invaluable photographic and video documentation are obtained within this section. Included with the video documentation is high speed video capable of 1000 frames per second or 2000 fields per second.
The staff of the Crashworthy Structures Program is recognized as leaders in the development and testing of both highway safety and anti-terrorist/anti-ram structures. Their experience related to the 2000+ full-scale crash tests, involvement in professional and commercial trade organizations, and interaction with industry on both highway safety and anti-terrorism devices keeps the staff abreast of current issues facing the respective safety and anti-terrorist communities. The program is supported by the Evaluation and Reporting Section that collects testing data through electronic, photographic, and videographic means and then compiles results in technical reports. The Construction Section installs and constructs approximately 95 percent of the devices tested within the program.
There are 10 support staff, 4 undergraduate students, and 1 graduate student working within the Crashworthy Structures Program.
The Crashworthy Structures Program has worked recently with a number of state highways agencies including but not limited to Texas, Florida, Washington, Pennsylvania, California, Alaska, and others. They are actively working on NCHRP projects. This program recently completed NCHRP Report 554, Aesthetic Concrete Barrier Design. This report presents guidelines for applying surface asperities to the face of concrete traffic barriers. As a result of their highway safety efforts, they work closely with the Office of Highway Safety at the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA). They are in contact with the Department of State, Bureau of Diplomatic Security, and the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers in Omaha, Nebraska, as it relates to the testing of anti-terrorist/anti-ram devices.
For More InformationDean Alberson
Crashworthy Structures Program
Texas A&M Transportation Institute
Texas A&M University System
College Station, TX 77843-3135
(979) 845-6375 · fax (979) 845-6107