Guidance for the Design and Application of Shoulder and Centerline Rumble Strips

Overview

This 2009 research report by the National Cooperative Highway Research Program (NCHRP) provides guidance for the design and application of shoulder and centerline rumble strips as an effective motor vehicle crash reduction measure, while minimizing adverse effects for motorcyclists, bicyclists, and nearby residents. Originally, rumble strips were installed primarily on rural freeways, but now transportation agencies are installing shoulder rumble strips along divided and undivided highways in both rural and urban areas, including along rural and urban two-lane roads. But doing so impacts the usability of the road by motorcyclists and bicyclists, and the resultant noise level may disturb nearly residents. This research report details how to best use rumble strips.

Key Points

To address the problem of single-vehicle run-off-road (SVROR) crashes, many transportation agencies use shoulder rumble strips to alert inattentive or drowsy motorists that their vehicles have drifted out of the travel lane. As motor vehicle tires pass over the rumble strips, the drifting motorists receive auditory and tactile warnings to correct their path of steering. Due to the expected safety benefits of shoulder rumble strips and their relatively low installation cost, transportation agencies are applying shoulder rumble strips on a widespread basis.

This 170+ page report focuses on:

  • Summarizing previous research and existing policies on the design and application of shoulder and centerline rumble strips.
  • Quantifying the safety effectiveness of shoulder rumble strips on different roadway types.
  • Providing guidance on the safety effectiveness of shoulder rumble strips placed in varying locations with respect to the edgeline.
  • Quantifying the safety effectiveness of centerline rumble strips on different roadway types and geometry.
  • Developing statistical models for predicting noise levels within the passenger compartment of a vehicle for use in designing rumble strip patterns.

This is a highly detailed and specific document, suitable for highway engineers more so than community planners.

How to Use

In most instances, this research report should remain in the hands of transportation planners and engineers, and is not likely tremendously helpful for community planners or local government officials. However, it does provide specific details and instructions on how to best install rumble strips to serve both the safety of the automobile passengers and the other users of the roadways.

View Full Report: Guidance for the Design and Application of Shoulder and Centerline Rumble Strips (PDF – 7.5 MB)

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