Date of this Version
Published in Journal of Transportation Safety 3:4 (2011), pp. 237–251.
Over the years, numerous work-zone, portable sign support systems have been successfully crash tested according to the Test Level 3 safety performance guidelines provided in the National Cooperative Highway Research Program Report 350 and accepted for use along our nation’s highways. For this study, several crashworthy sign support systems were analyzed to predict their safety performance according to the new evaluation criteria provided in the Manual for Assessing Safety Hardware (MASH). More specifically, this analysis was conducted to determine which hardware parameters negatively affect a system’s safety performance. To verify the accuracy of the analysis, eight systems, four with the 2270P pickup truck and four with the 1100C small car, were evaluated according to the MASH criteria. Five out of the eight tested systems failed the MASH criteria, and the other three systems performed in an acceptable manner. As a result of the analysis and verification, several hardware parameters were deemed critical for contributing to system failure under MASH and included sign panel material, top mast height, presence of flags, sign-locking mechanism type, base layout, and system orientation. Flowcharts were developed to assist manufacturers with the design of new sign support systems.