Each year in the United States over 1,000 fatalities occur as a result of collisions with utility poles. In addition, approximately 40% of utility pole crashes result in a non-fatal injury. Moreover, with over 88 million utility poles lining United States highways, it is not feasible to immediately remedy all poles that are potentially unsafe. Utility poles which pose a danger to motorists can, however, be identified and addressed over time in a structured, methodical manner. The goal of this project was to develop a method to identify and prioritize high risk utility poles that are good candidates for remediation as well as develop a standard operating procedure for the relocation of existing utility poles and placement of future utility poles along Massachusetts highways. This research found that the lateral offset, annual average daily traffic and density of the utility poles are major risk factors. Road geometry, however, also impacts the risk. Basic corrective measures such as delineation, placing poles as far from the edge of road as achievable, as well as placing poles a safe distance behind horizontal barriers are all suggested solutions.
Worcester Polytechnic Institute
Civil & Environmental Engineering
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Gagne, Amanda R., "Evaluation of Utility Pole Placement and the Impact on Crash Rates" (2008). Masters Theses (All Theses, All Years). 526.
roadside safety, predictor model