Rural Road Links: A Review on Current Research Projects & Initiatives Aimed at Reducing Vehicle Crash Fatalities on Rural Roads


Rural America accounts for a smaller and more dispersed portion of the nation’s population, yet it comprises a considerable portion of the transportation system. Rural areas account for approximately 83 percent of the land in the U.S and their roads account for 80 percent of the total U.S. road mileage and 40 percent of the vehicle miles traveled. Fatalities on rural roads surpass those in urban areas, even though urban areas are more densely populated and consequently, have a higher traffic flow. In 2001 alone, fatal crashes on rural areas accounted for 61 percent of all traffic fatalities, 39 percent of the vehicle miles traveled, and 2 percent of the population (2001 Accident Facts). Due to the high number of traffic fatalities on rural roads many organizations, including university traffic safety centers and federal organizations, have focused some of their research and time to reducing fatalities and improving road safety in rural areas. Although most of the document focuses on non farm motor vehicles, a small section has been allocated for farm vehicle accidents, including transportation vehicles that get farm workers to and from their jobsites. This document presents some of the more significant current research/ technologies being implemented and studied in the area of rural traffic safety to address fatalities in these areas, contains suggestions for further research, and identifies any gaps in existing knowledge and research wherever possible.

Publication date: 
August 6, 2003
Publication type: 
Technical Report