Utility Poles: Appendix 8
City of Huntsville, AL
Study of Roadside Object Crashes
The TSM Association of the University of Alabama completed a three-year study for the City of Huntsville, AL in 1988 (Turner, 1988). Rather than arbitrarily remove utility poles from the clear zone, the city wished to take a comprehensive approach to the problem. Studies were made to identify the best treatment for poles, trees, mailboxes, drainage devices, and other fixed objects.
The study involved 17,431 crashes that took place in Huntsville over a 30-month period. Single vehicle crashes with fixed objects in the roadside accounted for 1,254 (7.2%) of the total crashes and produced 13% of the injuries and 38% of the fatalities. The fixed object crashes are further detailed in Figure 1.
The crash reports on all 458 pole crashes yielded data such as time of day and day of week of the crashes. Field visits were made to 68% of the pole crash sites (the others could not be successfully located from crash reports). Information was collected for each site such as distance from the travel lane, roadway geometry, speed limit, road surface condition, pole size, etc. The reviews resulted in a variety of findings:
The 1988 report resulted in a number of recommendations for the city of Huntsville:
D.S. Turner, "Summary of Recommended Strategies for Trees, Poles, Mailboxes and Barrier in the Clear Zone", TSM Association, TSM Report 118-88, University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, AL, December 1988