AARP Driving Resource Center

Modern Road Design — Why Do They Keep Changing the Road?

Drivers will encounter good and bad road design

The Federal Highway Administration has an ongoing program that highlights safety countermeasures, which can be implemented on roadways and have proven to reduce crashes.

See also: Federal highways — Proven safety countermeasures

It is important to note that drivers will encounter good and bad road design. Examples include noticeable roadway changes, of which many of us are not aware, but make travel and roads safer for all. The following are proven to have reduced crashes and increased safety:

Safety Edge: Angling the edge of the roadway 30 percent to make it easier for drivers who go off the road to transition back onto the highway.

Corridor Access Management: Controlled entry and exit to roadways.

Backplates With Retroreflective Borders: Enhances the visibility of traffic signals by including both a contrasting background and a retroreflective border. 

Enhanced Delineation and Friction for Horizontal Curves: Improved curve signage and visibility, as well as “stickier” surfaces to provide greater traction. 

Medians and Pedestrian Crossing Islands in Urban and Suburban Areas: Areas between opposing lanes of traffic that are raised to provide a separation and refuge for pedestrians crossing traffic. 

Pedestrian Hybrid Beacon: Mid-block traffic signals that alert drivers to a pedestrian crosswalk. 

Road Diets (Roadway Reconfiguration): More efficient use of roadways to include shared turn lanes and bicycle lanes.

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