THE POTENTIAL FOR ACCIDENT REDUCTION BY IMPROVING URBAN SKID RESISTANCE LEVELS
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The problem of providing adequate wet-road skid resistance on urban roads has received relatively little attention from highway maintenance authorities. This study is an assessment of the potential for reducing accident rates by improving skid resistance levels on such roads. Reasons for the neglect of urban skid resistance are discussed and an assessment made of the scale of the skidding problem in this context. Evidence is presented to demonstrate that the potential for accident reduction is greater than is indicated by the statistics for reported skidding accidents. The pattern of frictional demand and the measurement of skid resistance are discussed, as are the technical difficulties associated with maintaining good skid resistance on heavily-trafficked roads. The performance of conventional surfacing materials is assessed and recently-developed materials are evaluated. It is suggested that the attainment of high skid resistance is inhibited by economic rather than technical factors. Nationally-proposed standards for skid resistance are examined and modifications are suggested for urban use. The problem of defining accident risk at an individual site is examined and the relationship between accident rate and skid resistance investigated using regression techniques with data from the Greater London area. Criteria are developed for identifying sites where an improvement in skid resistance is likely to be effective in reducing accidents and consideration is given to the economic justification for skid resistance improvements. Alternative strategies are considered and a policy is proposed which would be practicable and cost-effective and, it is argued, could lead to a substantial reduction in accident rates.
AuthorsYoung, Arthur Edward
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