Rural roads present a great danger to all road users: they are often plagued by fast drivers; are often narrow carriageways with blind corners and no pavements or cycle paths; and are shared spaces used by vulnerable road users including pedestrians, cyclists, and horse riders. Use this page to access research on rural road design and engineering, as well as risk factors on rural roads.
Influence of deficiencies in traffic control devices in crashes on two-lane rural roads
University of Granada, Spain, 12/08/2016
The incomplete removal of road works markings and the absence of guidance signs are leading causes of increased numbers of crashes on two-lane rural highways.
M5 model tree based predictive modelling of road accidents on non-urban sections of highways in India
National Institute of Technology, Haryana, India, 10/08/2016
Properly designed minor accesses and service roads are vital to the development of a safer roads system.
A study on driver performance along horizontal arms of rural roads
SouthEastern Transportation Center, USA, 2016
Driving simulations can disclose the relationships between road design factors and driver behavioural aspects crucial to developing a safer road infrastructure.
Policy considerations for evaluating the safety effectiveness of passing lanes on rural two-lane highways with lower traffic volumes: Wyoming 59 case study
University of Wyoming, USA, 08/01/2016
Adding passing lanes to targeted sections of roadway is the best option for improving the safety and operation of two-lane rural highways.
Difference in rural and urban driver-injury severities in highway–rail grade crossing accidents
University Transportation Research Center, New York, USA
Vehicle drivers in crashes have more severe injuries on rural rail crossings than urban ones.
The design elements for making rural roads safer in Australia are evaluated in a report by Austroads
Evaluating adverse rural crash outcomes using the NHTSA State Data System
Maine Medical Center, 24/06/2015
People severely injured in crashes in the US are more likely to die if they are in a rural location.
Driving down injuries and deaths on country roads
National Rural Health Alliance, 17/2/2015
Rural roads should be a focus if Australia is to meet its injury reduction targets.
Does roadside vegetation affect driving performance? A driving simulator study on the effects of trees on the driver's speed and lateral position
Transportation Research Board, 2015
Roadside trees affect how fast and where in the road drivers drive.
Road traffic injury on rural roads in Tanzania: measuring the effectiveness of a road safety program
Seven in 10 (71%) road crashes involving injuries on low-volume rural roads in Tanzania involve motorbike.
How safe are you on Britain's roads?
Safety measures, including lower speed limits, reduced fatal and serious crashes by 80% between 2007 and 2009 on the most dangerous sections of road in the UK.
Methods for reducing speeds on rural roads
Vehicle-activated warning signs at rural junctions could reduce speeds on rural roads by 5km/h (3mph) and crashes by 70%.
Simulator evaluation of drivers' speed, deceleration and lateral position
University of Naples Federico II, 20/09/2011
Road markings that give the impression of road narrowing, or physically narrowing lanes through a median island, may reduce driver speed on approach to rural junctions.
Risk factors for fatal crashes in rural Australia
Queensland University of Technology, 28/01/2011
Driver behaviour plays a more significant role than road or vehicle conditions on the severity of crashes which occur on rural roads.
Fatal rural motorcycle crashes
Queensland University of Technology, 09/11/2009
Rider error, including high risk activities such as speeding, are the most important factors in fatal rural motorcycle crashes.
Curve speed management, report 323
New Zealand Transport Agency, 01/01/2008
Many drivers ignore bend warning signs; instead being complacent of their ability to ‘read the road’ and often entering bends too fast and in the wrong position.