TTI Research Supervisor:
Chiara Silvestri Dobrovolny, Ph.D.
Associate Research Scientist
Texas A&M Transportation Institute
College Station, Texas 77843-3135
(979) 845-8971 [email protected]
Pooled Fund Technical Representative:
Jeff C. Jeffers, P.E.
Assistant State Traffic & Safety Engineering
Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities
3132 Channel Drive
P.O. Box 112500
Juneau, AK 99801-7898
(907) 465-8962 [email protected]
Mailboxes are the closest obstacle permitted next to the travel lanes. Little, however, is known about the actual crash history. Although the Federal Highway Administration and the United States Postal Service encourage the use of crashworthy mailboxes, in the State of Alaska mailboxes are treated as a right of the property owner, and do not require a permit. Without a permitting process the department does not have a formal program to review mailbox crashworthiness with property owners. At least one state’s Department of Transportation policy is to install all roadside mailboxes, thereby establishing and enforcing crashworthiness outside of project funding.
The first purpose of this research is to evaluate the risk presented by mailbox supports. The second goal is to identify state permitting requirements and enforcement policies as they relate to mailbox supports. The third objective is to provide agencies with guidance for policy options to prioritize safety initiatives that may lead to reduction of risk and/or reduced crash severity.
In order to prioritize and comply with the roadside safety needs, the current level of crash risk against mailboxes was examined and compared with other roadside fixed object obstacles. Proportions of injury/fatality crashes were calculated to evaluate whether policies for stricter control of the run-of-the-way would affect any outcomes.
The information compiled from this research will enable policy makers to evaluate what policy changes may be optimal to affect a reduction of severe crashes. With this report, the authors want to provide with survey results on current state agencies permitting requirements and enforcement policies related to mailbox supports. In addition, this report includes guidance for policy options aimed at prioritizing safety initiatives for the reduction of mailbox supports risk and/or crash severity.