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Mid-America Transportation Center

Investigation and Development of a MASH Test Level 6, Cost-Effective Barrier System for Containing Heavy Tractor Tank-Trailer Vehicles and Mitigating Catastrophic Crash Events - Phase III



University

University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Principal Investigator
Jennifer Rasmussen
PI Contact Information
jennifer.rasmussen@unl.edu
Funding Source(s) and Amounts Provided
USDOT: $115,428
UNL/NDOT: $115,428
Total Project Cost
$ 230,856
Agency ID or Contract Number
69A3551747107
Start Date
1/1/2020
End Date
1/31/2021
Research Objective
The objective of the project is to develop a new Manual for Assessing Safety Hardware Test Level 6 containment barrier to contain errant tractor-tank trailer vehicles. The barrier should safely contain and redirect vehicles ranging from 2,420-lb small passenger cars to 79,300-lb tractor tank trailers, while also limiting vehicle climb, roll, and peak-impact forces in the smaller cars and trucks. The barrier should be aesthetically pleasing, while also being economically competitive to existing Test Level 5 containment barriers.
Potential Benefits
At the end of the multi-phase project, a new, cost-effective, structurally adequate, reduced-height, vehicle containment system will be developed that is safe for motorists, capable of containing errant vehicle impacts with heavy tanker-truck vehicles, and prevents and/or mitigates the consequences of catastrophic crashes into high-risk facilities or highly-populated areas. This will allow departments of transportation a more cost-effective TL-6 barrier option to install where catastrophic motor vehicle crashes may otherwise occur. The new TL-6 barrier may be more widely deployed in critical areas to prevent catastrophic accidents which would affect the traveling public, infrastructure, and the region’s economy.
Brief Description of Research Project
Tractor-tank trailer vehicles often transport hazardous and/or flammable chemicals through heavily-populated communities. Although tractor-tank trailer crashes occur rarely, the effects of a crash can be catastrophic. Test Level 6 (TL-6) barriers would be required to contain errant tractor-tank vehicles. To date, only one Test Level 6 vehicle containment system was successfully tested using a tractor tank trailer. Due to its current configuration, few TL-6 barriers have been utilized in the real-world thus far. These situations could include prevention and mitigation of: (1) cross median, opposing-traffic, vehicle crashes involving hazardous heavy tanker trucks along urban freeways and interstates and (2) tanker vehicle penetration or override of existing lower containment barriers located on bridges, elevated road structures, or high volume roadways, which create potential catastrophic events near schools, malls, sports venues, concert arenas, military bases, international airports, critical government buildings, or other high-risk facilities. As such, there exists a need to develop, a new, cost-effective, structurally adequate, reduced-height, vehicle containment system that is safe for motorists, is capable of containing errant vehicle impacts with heavy tanker-truck vehicles, and prevents and/or mitigates the consequences of catastrophic crashes into high-risk facilities or highly-populated areas.
Describe Implementation of Research Outcomes
Impacts/Benefits of Implementation
Web Links
Modal Orientation
  • Barriers
  • Economics
  • Freight
  • Highways
  • Safety and Human Performance
  • Safety and Human Performance
  • Structures