Design Requirements for Safer Highway Bridge Rails

by Robert M. Olson, (M.ASCE), Assoc. Prof. of Civ. Engrg. and Assoc. Res. Engr.; Texas Transp. Inst., Texas A&M Univ., College Station, Texas,
Edward R. Post, Asst. Res. Engr.; Texas Transp. Inst., Texas A&M Univ., College Station, TX,
Don L. Ivey, (A.M.ASCE), Assoc. Prof. of Civ. Engrg. and Assoc. Res. Engr.; Texas Transp. Inst., Texas A&M Univ., College Station, TX,


Serial Information: Transportation Engineering Journal of ASCE, 1971, Vol. 97, Issue 2, Pg. 291-304


Document Type: Journal Paper

Abstract: Recent accident information obtained during 1965-1968 indicates that: (1) approximately 22% of the fixed object freeway fatal accidents involve bridge railing systems, and (2) certain areas of a bridge railing system if not properly designed, or adequately protected, or both can constitute a hazardous condition to an out-of-control vehicle. In order to evaluate the performance of a bridge railing system, a simple mathematical model simulating a standard size vehicle striking a railing has been developed and verified. This model takes into consideration vehicle parameters as well as roadway characteristics. Employing the model and extending the work of the National Safety Council, a first approximation has been made to estimate decelerations or impact forces. Based on the experience and judgment of highway engineers, available research, and the results of this study, a Tentative List of Bridge Railing Service Requirements has been defined to help the highway engineer appraise or design any bridge railing system.

Subject Headings: Bridge design | Railroad bridges | Highway and road design | Highway bridges | Bridge-vehicle interaction | Vehicles | Mathematical models | Traffic accidents

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