Document Type thesis Author Name Gagne, Amanda R URN etd-043008-155826 Title Evaluation of Utility Pole Placement and the Impact on Crash Rates Degree MS Department Civil & Environmental Engineering Advisors Malcolm H. Ray, Advisor Leonard D. Albano, Advisor Rajib B. Mallick, Advisor Keywords roadside safety predictor model Date of Presentation/Defense 2008-04-29 Availability unrestricted
Each year in the United States over 1,000 fatalities occur as a result of collisions with utility poles. In addition, approximately 40% of utility pole crashes result in a non-fatal injury. Moreover, with over 88 million utility poles lining United States highways, it is not feasible to immediately remedy all poles that are potentially unsafe. Utility poles which pose a danger to motorists can, however, be identified and addressed over time in a structured, methodical manner. The goal of this project was to develop a method to identify and prioritize high risk utility poles that are good candidates for remediation as well as develop a standard operating procedure for the relocation of existing utility poles and placement of future utility poles along Massachusetts highways. This research found that the lateral offset, annual average daily traffic and density of the utility poles are major risk factors. Road geometry, however, also impacts the risk. Basic corrective measures such as delineation, placing poles as far from the edge of road as achievable, as well as placing poles a safe distance behind horizontal barriers are all suggested solutions.
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