Best barrier for the job
More often than not, traffic safety is funded by tax revenue. Just as school, health care and the Police department etc. This imply the need to carefully choose how to spend tax payer's money. With a limitation to these funds, we believe it to be self-explained that it is very important to choose the most beneficial traffic safety raising alternativ available for each location - to get the most amount of traffic safety per "dollar". These alternative might be education, information campaigns, technical solutions built in to vehicles or constructing a forgiving road environment including choosing between different vehicle restraint system technologies.
Standardised collision testing and evaluation contribute to grant that all approved crash barriers on the market is safe enough, but it is essential to remember that no real life collision will ever be an exact replica of a standardised test. There is no evidence to state that a specific crash barrier technology would be safer than any other, but it is important to realise that different technologies, and different systems even, have key features that would add value in different situations and locations. To be able to use tax payer's money the best way possible, it is important to install the best barrier for the job - in a given location.
In most situations, this is not all that difficult. Start from these three bullets:
- On high speed rural highways, freeways and motorways there is generally only advantages with cable barriers. Cable barriers' forgiving features for vehicle occupants in combination with low-cost installations makes it possile to create a huge amount of traffic safety along vast areas of the road network - a key quality considering it is impossible to predict where the next crash will happen.
- Closer to larger cities, where the amount of vehicles densen and speeds drop, it is wise to choose a more rigid construction - often a steel beam barrier or similar. Traffic density imply more expected barrier collision whilst the lower speeds will also lower the risk of severe impact violence on vehicle's occupants. The more rigid construction will often lower the frequency of need of repairs - however, it is essential to repair these structure as soon as they are damaged not to cause additional hazards for road users.
- On essential road segments in and through greater cities with high density of vehicles and very low speeds and the most important aspect is to exclude road work it is wise to choose concrete barriers.