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Low-Cost Systematic Safety Countermeasures

This page provides guidance and fact sheets on the use of research-proven low-cost safety countermeasures that can be deployed on a systematic basic. Through the collective efforts of ODOT's Traffic Operations Leadership Team (TOLT) and Highway Safety Engineering Committee (HSEC), many of these safety countermeasures are thoroughly integrated into the options the ODOT Regions consider as they address their highway safety issues in an effort to reduce fatal and serious injury crashes throughout Oregon.

The implementation of these countermeasures are directly linked to other ODOT highway safety initiatives such as the Roadway Departure and Intersection Safety Action Plans​. These countermeasures support ODOT's goal of reducing fatal and serious injury crashes across the State with a secondary benefit of reducing lower severity crashes such as property damage only (PDO) and minor injury crashes as well.

Update Curve Warning Signs
The 2009 Edition of the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices​ includes new Standards and Guidance for when hoizontal alignment signs such as curve warning signs and chevrons should be installed along a highway. Oregon has long recognized the connection between effective curve signing and reductions in roadway departure crashes. Upgrading curve warning signs systematically across a highway corridor or regionally is a proven method of reducing roadway departure crashes.

   Photo courtesy of KYTC
Rumble Strips
Rumble strips are a proven safety countermeasure for reducing fatal and serious injury roadway depature crashes. They can be installed on the shoulder to reduce run-off-road crashes and/or on the centerline to prevent head-on and sideswipe meeting crashes. Special design considerations need to be taken into account for highways with significant volumes of recreational and commuting bicycle traffic. 
 Photo courtesy of FHWA​
Basic Intersection Upgrades

There are numerous stop controlled intersections on minor road approaches to state highways, county arterials, and city streets in Oregon. Many of these intersections are in isolated, rural locations.  
Photo courtesy of FHWA  

A series of low-cost safety countermeasures can be systematically deployed at intersections with higher volume minor road approaches. Some of these countermeasures include installing short splitter islands, doubling the amount of stop and warning signs approaching and at the intersection, and installing stop beacons above the stop signs. 
Basic Intersection Upgrades Fact Sheet

Basic Signal Upgrades
Many transportation professionals associate safety improvements at signalized intersections as high cost improvements. However there are several low-cost safety countermeasures that can significantly reduce fatal and serious injury crashes. Some of these include reflectorized backplates, adding a signal head per lane on multilane arterials, and changes to signal phasing.


Photo courtesy of FHWA
Pedestrian Enhancements

Pedestrian/vehicle crashes are a concern because pedestrians are likely to experience moderate to serious injuries in these types of crashes. Higher speed pedestrian/vehicle crashes often result in pedestrian fatalities. Some possible countermeasures include geometric treatments such as curb extensions/bulb-outs, median refuge islands, and operational improvements such active pedestrian warning devices.

Pedestrian Enhancements Fact Sheet
Photo courtesy of FHWA​

Bicycle Enhancements

Oregon is one of the most "bike friendly" places in the U.S. The City of Portland has the highest bicycle commuting rate of any major U.S. city. As bicycle volumes continue to increase on our highways, conflicts between motor vehicles and bicycles also increase. Some possible countermeasures include innovative treatments that may require experimental approval by FHWA.

Bicycle Enhancements Fact Sheet 

   Photo courtesy of NACTO
Road Diets
Road diets have the ability to generate benefits for all modes of transportation, not just bicycles and pedestrians. In a traditional 4-to-3 road diet, removing the left turns from the travel lane will often reduce the number of crashes caused by stoppages in the travel lane. It also reduces the number of lanes the left turning vehicle must cross while making the turn.
Photo courtesy of FHWA​

Other Links
FHWA Proven Safety Countermeasures​