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Mid-America Transportation Center

Development of New Generation of Portable Concrete Barriers


University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Principal Investigator
Mojdeh Pajouh
PI Contact Information
Funding Source(s) and Amounts Provided
USDOT: $119,819
UNL/NDOT: $119,819
Total Project Cost
$ 239,638
Agency ID or Contract Number
Start Date
End Date
Research Objective
The objective of this MATC research project along with a current project at Midwest Roadside Safety Facility (MwRSF) at UNL is to develop a new generation of non-proprietary, high-performance portable barrier capable of meeting the MASH TL-3 safety requirements with reduced free-standing barrier deflections as well as increased vehicle stability as compared to existing, widely used PCB systems. Other design criteria include cost, durability, construction and transportability, ease of installation and removal. Design concepts including various geometries, connections, and/or materials will be developed and evaluated using advanced computer simulations.
Potential Benefits
This proposed high-performance PCB with improved crashworthiness, vehicle stability, durability, and ease of transportation and construction will significantly reduce fatalities and serious injuries associated with vehicle rollovers as well as saving cost of barrier installation and/or repairment. Also, this barrier with reduced deflections can be used in narrow medians, providing wider work zones for construction personnel or be placed closer to excavations, allowing more space for travel lanes in work zone areas without the added expense and time of installing anchors. Furthermore, development of this non-proprietary, optimized PCB, available for adoption by highway agencies, leads to a uniform standardization of portable barriers throughout the nation.
Brief Description of Research Project
Portable concrete barriers are designed to protect equipment and workers in the work zone, to prevent errant vehicles from leaving the traveled way, and to safely redirect those vehicles impacting the barrier. Most non-proprietary, portable barrier systems on the nation’s highways consist of safety-shape or single-slope barrier that have critical concerns of large deflection upon impact as well as vehicle instability/rollover. This MATC research project aims to investigate potential barrier design concepts through advanced computational simulations, as a necessary and critical stage of research prior to full-scale crash testing of design concepts. The optimized PCB design(s) will be recommended for full-scale crash tests.
Describe Implementation of Research Outcomes
Impacts/Benefits of Implementation
Web Links
Modal Orientation
  • Bridges
  • Highways
  • Safety and Human Performance