College of Engineering Awarded Research Projects to Improve Driver SafetyNASHVILLE (TSU NEWS SERVICE) – The College of Engineering at Tennessee State University has been awarded two research projects sponsored by the Tennessee Department of Transportation to improve driver safety on the roads throughout the state.
TDOT has sponsored several projects at the College since 2011, mostly related to traffic safety and traffic management. The latest projects are expected to begin later this year and will continue the trend.
Dr. Deo Chimba, assistant professor in the Department of Civil and Architectural Engineering, will conduct both studies, which will last between 30-48 months, and look at the effectiveness of cable rail systems, and pavement marking retroreflectivity durability and safety.
The first study will look at the effectiveness of cable rail systems with respect to reducing the number of crashes, and the severity of injuries and fatalities. According to the Department of Transportation, median crossover crashes often result in fatalities or serve injuries to occupants and to the drivers in opposing traffic lanes. The concrete and metal beam barriers traditionally used to prevent these crashes, however, don’t perform well on sloped terrain. In addition, concrete and metal beam barriers are expensive, and state and local agencies often lack the resources to rapidly deploy these technologies to areas where vehicles frequently cross over the adjacent medians.
The cable rail system research will last 30 months with a funding level of $105,000 and will look at how some of the road geometries and traffic characteristics affect cable barrier performances. Other outcomes are expected to include an updated safety effectiveness performance of the median cable barriers in the state, and an evaluated performance of different types of cable barrier systems used on Tennessee’s roadways.
The second research project will be a collaboration partnership between Dr. Chimba and Dr. Mbakisya Onyango of the University of Tennessee-Chattanooga, and evaluate pavement-marking performance in Tennessee. The study, according to Dr. Chimba, will provide vital information to road users. “If adhered to, the results will improve road users’ safety with the many benefits to TDOT,” he said.
According to the proposal, the benefits of the research project would include: the proposed pavement marking replacement (maintenance) timing for different types of pavements; increased road users safety measures by ensuring that the retroreflectivity levels are maintained at the minimum levels recommended by the Federal Highway Administration; establish correlations, if any, between pavement markings and crash frequency and types, which will help in the pavement marking replacement scheduling; and increase efficiency in pavement marking maintenance, taking into account traffic, environment and pavement surface characteristics.
The second project has a recommended funding level of $500,000 with approximately 40 percent of the fee for the University, and will last 48 months, conducted in two phases.