Lehman Center for Transportation Research at Florida International University

Before and After Safety Study of Roadways Where New Medians Have Been Added

  • Sponsor: Florida Department of Transportation, Systems Planning Office
  • Contact: Dr. Albert Gan, (305) 348-3116, gana@fiu.edu

  • The purpose of this research is to determine the differences in crash experience for locations where new restrictive medians have been constructed. FDOT has had a policy to install medians in most new multi-lane highway projects since the 1990's. This decision was based on the overwhelming national and statewide data showing the clear benefits of restrictive medians, as compared to center turn lanes.

    Although some before and after work has been completed in Central Florida by FDOT District 5, FDOT needs a wider area of Florida to be studied and to perform more in-depth safety analysis. To date, most studies have been done with data that did not look at individual crash reports. These crash reports are a key to determining more specific benefits, and even some shortcomings, of the design of the new medians.

    In addition, the business community has been wary of these sorts of improvements due to fears that it will make their businesses less accessible. As a result of this belief, new legislation has been passed to assure communication with the elected officials of the city/county in which the improvements are made. FDOT has always tried to involve the business community to inform them of the changes, as well as to get their advice on certain design changes to better serve their customers and truck deliveries.

    FDOT would like to have an in-depth review of the public process, which would include interviews with the businesses potentially impacted and the project managers of certain FDOT projects. The purpose of this research is to identify how the business owners originally believed the project would impact their business, and if that belief was shown to be true. Information will also be obtained as to how successful or involved the business owners were with the public information process. This information will help determine potential improvements to our public process and reveal how current business managers think the medians have impacted them.

    This project will address the following two main questions:
    1. What safety impacts have been realized and can be documented as the result of the installation of restricted medians on various state roads throughout the state; and
    2. What was the experience of business owners on these corridorsówere their initial beliefs proven to be true and were they involved in the public information process?