Civil and Environmental Engineering


Date of this Version

Summer 7-26-2011

Document Type



A THESIS Presented to the Faculty of The Graduate College at the University of Nebraska In Partial Fulfillment of Requirements For the Degree of Master of Science, Major: Civil Engineering, Under the Supervision of Professor Dean L. Sicking. Lincoln, Nebraska: August, 2011

Copyright 2011 Kevin D. Schrum


Provisions for the design of roadside foreslopes are not readily available, and as a result, engineering judgment is often employed. Unfortunately, this can lead to inconsistent designs, where, inevitably, some designs will be too costly and other designs will be too dangerous. Therefore, a design guide was created to lend consistency to the design of these foreslopes while maintaining the most economical and safe design.

This design guide was prepared after conducting a benefit-cost analysis using the Roadside Safety Analysis Program (RSAP). A large test matrix was developed in an attempt to simulate the most possible scenarios, leaving interpolation to a minimum. However, before the analysis could be run, the severity indexes associated with foreslopes needed to be updated to accurately reflect vehicle damages and injury levels caused during an encroachment occurring at an average impact speed. Current indexes are overestimated because they were based on a survey given out to highway safety officials who were most likely biased toward high-speed accidents.

To update the severity indexes, accident data from the State of Ohio was analyzed using a program called Global Mapper, which allowed the user to measure topographical features, such as foreslopes, heights, and offsets. A method is presented to account for underreported accidents on flat slopes as well. Finally, equations for determining accident cost as a function of the traffic volume are given in conjunction with examples that demonstrate the use of these equations.

Adviser: Dean L. Sicking