Pennsylvania,  Quality of Life Benefits of Transportation,  Safety

High Friction Surface Treatment Helps PennDOT Improve Highway Safety

In PennDOT’s ongoing mission to reach the national highway safety goal of zero fatalities, the agency’s use of the innovative High Friction Surface Treatment (HFST) is having a significant impact.

Beginning in 2007 with the first application on Pennsylvania Route 611 in Northampton County, High Friction Surface Treatment has been used more than 250 locations across the state.

PennDOT has seen impressive results.

PennDOT performed a crash data analysis of 47 locations and found that for an investment of just over $3 million, the return in reduced fatalities, injuries and property damage was more than $8.5 million.

“A safety countermeasure that results in significant crash reductions like HFST is excellent,” said Jason Hershock, PennDOT’s manager for safety engineering and risk management. “This innovation supports PennDOT’s efforts to address safety on Pennsylvania highways.”

Follow-up crash data analysis at 47 locations, where crash data was available for at least three to five years after HFST installation, showed a significant crash reduction in wet road, run-off-road, hit fixed object and all crashes. Fatalities at these locations went from eight to zero and injury crashes went from 190 to 71, a 63 percent decrease.

The difference ingredient-wise in HFST is the use of an epoxy binder and calcined bauxite aggregate, which is laid on top of the surface. Its use is based in part on crash analysis of curves and intersections, where there is a need to help drivers stay on the road and reduce stopping distances to avoid crashes due to running stop signs or traffic signals and avoiding rear end crashes.

A Federal Highway Administration Every Day Counts Opens In A New Window innovation, championed by the Pennsylvania State Transportation Innovation Council, this treatment can also help PennDOT deal with safety issues where there are unusual environmental challenges.

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