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Crash Prevention and Safety
For the past 10 years there was an average of 47,630 crashes per year on Oregon’s state highways resulting in approximately 452 deaths each year. ITS can make a difference in improving traveler safety. Examples of ITS solutions include:
  • Advanced warning of challenging driving conditions such as curves;
  • Advanced warning of areas prone to adverse environmental conditions posing potential risk to drivers; and
  • Advance warning of crashes and other known, potentially hazardous travel conditions.
ITS positively impacts the safety of travelers on Oregon roads by reducing speeds, increasing awareness of hazards, and reducing the frequency of crashes.

Oregon Case Studies
McKenzie Over-Length Detection System
In the summer of 2004, a detection and warning system along the McKenzie pass was implemented.  The system consisted of detecting and actively warning drivers of over-length vehicles to turn around.  The curves of the pass are such that vehicles greater than 35 feet in length traveling through the winding highway are more prone to accidents or getting stuck.  Since system implementation, on average, over 70% of over-length commercial vehicles traversing the McKenzie pass heed the automated warnings and turn around.
Myrtle Creek Advanced Curve Warning System
The stretch of I-5 near Myrtle Creek was a known speeding and safety problem area.  Drivers had a tendency to speed around the curves increasing the likelihood of crashes.  In a before and after study of passenger cars and trucks, it was found that mean speeds were lower after implementation of the advanced curve warning system - approximately 3 mph for the southbound and 2 mph for the northbound directions.  The study also uncovered a shift in the speed distribution of commercial vehicles.  The shift was toward a higher concentration of commercial vehicles traveling around the mean speed, and fewer vehicles traveling in the higher speed ranges. Crash data is also being evaluated but not yet available.  At least three years worth of data collected after the system implementation is required to obtain statistically significant results. [2]   [3]
Dundee Queue Detection System
A hilly section of ORE 99E near Dundee proved to be dangerous due to lack of visibility, creating a hazard to Oregon drivers.  A warning system was installed that flashed beacons at on-coming drivers when there was an approaching queue of vehicles hidden by the hilly terrain.

Resources and References
  1. ODOT Transportation Development Division Crash Summary Book and Crash Rate Tables.  
  2. Monsere, C. M., Nolan, C., Bertini, R. L., Anderson, E. L., & Abou El-Seoud, T. Measuring the Impacts of Speed Reduction Technologies: A Dynamic Advanced Curve Warning System Evaluation. Transportation Research Board, Washington D.C., March 2005.
  3. Bertini, R.L., Monsere, C.M., et al. Field Evaluation of the Myrtle Creek Advanced Curve Warning System, Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering, Portland State University, June 2006.
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