Date of this Version
Stolle, C.S., Ammon, T.J., Vargas, C.M., Yim, A., Faller, R.K., Lechtenberg, K.A., and Urbank, E.L. (2018). "Data-Driven Development of a Roadside Safety Marketing Campaign for Tree Removal – Phase I". NDOT Research Report TRP-03-375-18.
Since the 1970s, tree crashes have been one of the most common and deadly fixed-object fatal crash types, resulting in more than 3,000 fatal crashes and 3,500 fatalities each year. While fatal tree crashes could be prevented by removing trees adjacent to the roadway, an extensive national tree removal project would be unnecessary, cost-prohibitive, and would experience significant political resistance.
The Midwest Pooled Fund Program jointly funded a research study to develop marketing methods and approaches which would focus on tree removal, replacement, or relocation in the most critical areas. Researchers conducted an extensive background investigation into tree crashes, other available studies that reviewed and analyzed tree crash data, and various state DOT and local safety-related marketing campaigns. Researchers also investigated state and local recommendations for clear zone requirements adjacent to various road classes, and issued a survey to state DOTs to obtain local perspectives of marketing and advertising plans. Finally, researchers collected over 400,000 tree and utility pole crashes from 12 different states over a five-year period to analyze the crash data and tabulate results. Draft marketing and advertising plans were developed to demonstrate the type of safety advertising techniques and messages which could be used to inform and influence the public regarding the danger of roadside trees and the importance of tree removal.