Cost-Benefit Analysis of Crash Cushion Systems

Kevin D. Schrum, Francisco D.B. De Albuquerque, Dean L. Sicking, Karla A. Lechtenberg, Ronald K. Faller, John D. Reid

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Crash cushions vary in geometry and cost. In this study, crash cushions were categorized in three different categories: redirecting with repair costs greater than $1,000 (RGM), redirecting with repair costs less than $1,000 (RLM), and nonredirecting sacrificial (NRS). Typically, RGM systems are less expensive initially, but life-cycle costs are high. RLM systems typically reciprocate this trend. NRS crash cushions (e.g., sand barrels) are generally less expensive but require total replacement after a crash has occurred, which may be impractical at high-traffic volume locations. Due to limited funding, there is often a need to identify the most cost-effective crash cushion category for highway scenarios with different roadway, traffic, and roadside characteristics. This study was commissioned to determine benefit-cost ratios for each crash cushion category in a wide range of roadway and roadside characteristics using the probability-based encroachment tool, Roadside Safety Analysis Program. Only RGM and RLM systems were cost-effective for freeways and divided rural arterials, but all three categories competed against the unprotected condition on undivided rural arterials and local roads.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-19
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Transportation Safety and Security
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 19 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • RSAP
  • benefit-cost
  • crash cushions
  • roadside

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Transportation
  • Safety Research


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