A nationwide survey evaluating overheight/oversize warning systems found that eight states that deployed active infrared light or laser activated warning systems had fewer overheight load strikes on infrastructure components.
Much of recent research regarding oversize vehicles has focused on developing an automatic procedure for routing these vehicles using a geographic information system (GIS) (1). This focus does not immediately solve the infrastructure crash problem because the current bridge collisions occur when the vehicles fail to obtain the proper oversize permits or ignore the required route provided by their permit. This does not eliminate the need for safe routing procedures because a routing error may cause significant damage or loss of life (2).
This research attempts to synthesize existing data and previous research to develop a comprehensive examination of the state-of-the-practice for oversized vehicle warning devices. The lack of primary data sources and previous research requires much of the analysis to rely on anecdotal data and qualitative assessments. To gather data, telephone interviews were conducted with 31 State DOTs. To supplement the data, interviews were also conducted with some vendors. Of the 31 states contacted, 29 completed the interview process with only 11 states using some form of overheight warning system. The participating states used a wide range of warning systems. They included blockades before tunnels to laser activated early warning detection systems. The initial interviews were supplemented with email and fax correspondence. After completing the surveys, two site visits were held in California and Pennsylvania. The site visits included active detection systems located near tunnels as well as at weigh stations. No passive devices were included in the data collected.
- Eight of 11 states deploying active overheight warning systems believe their systems reduce overheight loads striking infrastructure components.
- The study found that even though data was anecdotal, the findings still merit consideration because results tended to be fairly uniform across the responding states with active warning systems.
(2) Mehta, S. and P. Willon. Caltrans Routing Errors Behind 3 Crashes. LA Times, Orange County Edition, July 23, 1999, pp. 1.
Mitigating Overheight Vehicle Crashes Into Infrastructure: A State of the Practice
Author: Mattingly, Stephen P.
Published By: Paper Presented at the 82nd Annual Transportation Research Board Meeting
Source Date: 12-16 January 2003
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