Improving Passing Lane Safety and Efficiency
The primary objective of this project is to mitigate passing lane collision risks. Medium-fidelity driving simulations will be used to examine the potential safety and operational benefits of several highway safety interventions for inducing safer driver behaviors such as slowing in the right-hand lane while being passed and reducing the incidence of last-second, high-speed passes. This approach will go beyond typical mitigations of collision risk that use explicit behavioral interventions, such as regulation (enforcing lower speed limits) and public education (safety warnings). These more common interventions can be costly to implement and have limited durable impact on a, sometimes, uncooperative public who are in a hurry and whose decision making might be impaired by alcohol or fatigue. Our aim is to examine whether semi-permanent alterations to the visual appearance of the unsafe zones might reduce risky driver behaviors implicitly, by slowing traffic and inducing better passing decisions without drivers being aware. Alterations considered in the study include improved signage upstream from and at the passing lanes as well as alternative striping and lane marking.