Trunk roads (such as highways, freeways, or motorways) that do not allow people on foot or bicycles and have multiple lanes and a median barrier typically suffer the lowest casualty rates. However, when crashes happen on trunk roads they often involve multiple deaths and injuries as vehicles 'pile up' into the crash due to high travelling speeds. There are many measures that can be taken to make trunk roads safer, including lower speed limits and improved barriers. Use this page to access research on developments to improve safety and minimise casualty rates on trunk roads.
Maintaining Scotland's road networks
Transport Scotland, Scotland, 04/08/2016
Discussing proper maintenance of the Scottish road network and its impact on Scotland's economic prosperity and road user safety.
Overview of traffic safety aspects and design in road tunnels
Amy Metom Engineers, Israel, 23/02/2016
The risk of a crash in a tunnel is approximately half that of a crash on the open road; however, tunnel crash severity is higher.
Smart motorways posing 'significant risks'
RAC, UK, 15/02/2016
Smart motorways where the hard shoulder is used as a running lane are preventing emergency services from reaching crash sites.
The odds of wrong-way crashes and resulting fatalities: A comprehensive analysis
Florida Department of Transportation, USA, 30/12/2015
Roadway geometry and fog detection technology can help monitor, detect and mitigate a wrong-way movement before it leads to an injury or fatal crash, finds an article in Accident Analysis & Prevention.
Detecting unforgiving roadside contributors through the severity analysis of ran-off-road crashes
Portugese Department for Transport, 15/4/2015
"Forgiving roadsides” are essential for preventing fatal injuries in "ran-off-road" incidents.
Using driving simulators in road design – A road safety study of merging traffic in tunnels
Swedish National Road and Transport Research Institute, 30/3/2015
"Research from driving simulators can aid in the design of safe roads.
Road user needs and experiences
Transport Focus, 30/3/2015
While safety is the most important requirement for users of the UK’s major roads network, drivers still report a competitive attitude with emotions playing a role.
An environmental history of roadkill: road ecology and the making of the permeable highway
SUNY Plattsburg, 2015
The relationship between highway design, animal movements and roadkill is explored in a report by SUNY Plattsburg.
Experimental research on safety impacts of the inside shoulder based on driving simulation
Beijing University of Technology, 31/12/2014
While many highways in China lack hard shoulders, a driver simulator study finds that they have a positive impact on safety.
Life Lines: a report on the standard of road safety markings across the UK
Road Safety Markings Association, 13/03/2014
Half the road markings on England’s highways are so worn they need to be replaced immediately.
Roads that cars can read
Common standards for road markings and traffic signs across Europe would enable the effective use of safety technology such as lane-departure warnings and traffic-sign recognition.
Tracking the safety of Britain's major road network
Road Safety Foundation, 21/10/2013
Crash risk is seven times greater on single carriage way roads than motorways in Great Britain.
Barriers to change: designing safe roads for motorcyclists
Motorcyclists are 15 times more likely to be killed when hitting a crash barrier than car drivers.
Unfit for 80
Road Safety Foundation, 20/06/2012
The UK motorway speed limit should not be raised to 80mph as UK motorways are unfit for this speed.
Road safety and road restraint systems
European Union Road Federation, 24/04/2012
Stronger road barriers on trunk roads would reduce the severity and cost of road crashes.
Outdoor advertising control practices in Australia, Europe, and Japan
International Technology Scanning Program, 10/06/2011
More should be done to assess the safety of commercial roadside variable-message and full-motion video signs.
Crash barriers on trunk roads
Monash University Accident Research Centre, 09/11/2009
Flexible barriers on trunk roads reduce casualty rates by 75 -77%.