Texas A&M Transportation Institute (TTI) Senior Research Engineer Robert Wunderlich is featured in a USA Today story (source: Pew/Stateline), “Deadly crashes on rural roads prompt new safety efforts,” wherein he discusses building safety into road projects from the get-go to help prevent traffic crashes. Simple engineering changes at the design stage — such as rumble strips, median barriers, pavement markings, better lighting and wider shoulders — could make a big difference in preventing deaths and injuries on rural roadways.
“Rumble strips alert you that you’ve made an error,” the article quotes Wunderlich saying. “The shoulder gives you a place to recover.”
The article references the $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill currently under consideration in the U.S. Congress. According to one article source, 90 percent of fatalities in rural areas happen on two-lane roads. A new rural road grant program funded by the infrastructure bill would dedicate $300 million toward high-risk rural road safety programs aimed at reducing injuries and fatalities. From Wunderlich’s perspective, safety should be a principal concern every time a new road is built or an existing road is maintained.
“This federal infrastructure bill is going to put a lot of money in the states to construct and rebuild infrastructure and I think robust safety analysis needs to be a key part of it,” he said in the article. “It’s not rocket science. I think it would make a huge difference.” | Read the USA Today article.