Florida’s Intersection High Friction Surface Treatment Program

From 2012 to 2022, approximately 26 percent of fatal and 35 percent of injury crashes in Florida were related to intersections. In the Florida Department of Transportation’s (FDOT) District 7 (D7), the respective values were even higher (32% for fatal and 39% for injury), with major implications for vulnerable road users.

Recognizing that innovative pavement treatments could be a critical infrastructure strategy to reduce stopping distances and improve safety for all road users at urban intersections, FDOT D7 worked with a safety team that included the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), the Center for Urban Transportation Research (CUTR) at the University of South Florida (USF), Element Engineering, and WDM USA to gather continuous pavement friction measurements (CPFM)2 on all D7 arterials, evaluate candidate locations, install High Friction Surface Treatment (HFST) at 10 locations, and conduct detailed before-after studies at three signalized intersections to improve signalized intersection safety.

Stopping behaviors before and after the implementation of HFST were used to evaluate HFST at the signalized intersections. If a vehicle cannot fully stop before the stop bar when the signal changes to red, the vehicle may enter the intersection, block crosswalks, or cause collisions. The performance in Tampa indicated that HFST significantly reduced the rate of improper stopping behaviors at the study sites for different scenarios (morning, afternoon, night) and time periods (6, 9, 14, 19, and/ or 21 months), with overall reduction rates of 11 – 31 percent at the 95% confidence level. The results also demonstrated that the safety improvement from implementing HFST can last for a long period of time.

The safety effectiveness of HFST has been proven on curves. With this project, D7 extended the application of HFST to intersections and adopted a proactive and innovative study approach based on behavioral surrogate safety measures. Although HFST’s initial cost is higher than conventional pavement treatments, its long-lasting service life (10 years) qualifies it as a low-cost and durable treatment to provide higher pavement friction compared to the removal and replacement of the existing pavement. Through the use of CPFM data and implementing pilot projects of HFST at intersections, FDOT has created a proactive strategy for addressing intersection crash risk – a major challenge in Florida’s Vision Zero goals. The pilot study results will be used to support further implementation of HFST at intersections and update the Florida High Friction Surface Treatment Guidelines.

Additional Information

Emmeth Duran, PE, Florida Department of Transportation District 7 Traffic Safety Program Engineer accepted the Award from FHWA Administrator Shailen Bhatt and RSF Executive Director Bruce Hamilton at a November 29th ceremony on Capitol Hill.