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Republic of the Philippines

DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC WORKS AND HIGHWAYS

Accident Blackspot Investigation


Handbook

Project Preparation for the Accident Backspot Program

Accident Blackspot Investigation Handbook

Table of Contents
PART 1

INTRODUCTION ................................................................................................1

Context ...........................................................................................................................1
Purpose and Scope of this Handbook ............................................................................1
Structure of the Handbook..............................................................................................1
PART 2

THE PROJECT CYCLE .....................................................................................3

Step 1: Identify Hazardous Locations............................................................................4


Step 2: Investigate the Hazardous Locations ................................................................4
Step 3: Formulate Candidate Projects...........................................................................5
Step 4: Screen-out Ineligible Projects ...........................................................................5
Step 5: Appraise the Project Economics .......................................................................6
Step 6: Prioritize the Projects ........................................................................................6
Step 7: Deliver the Project.............................................................................................7
PART 3

PREPARATION OF ROAD ACCIDENT REDUCTION PROJECTS..................8

STEP 1 Identify Hazardous Locations.........................................................................8


Step 1.1

Analyze Accident Data ......................................................................9

Step 1.2

Review Locations Nominated from Other Sources..........................10

Step 1.3

Compile Listings of Worst Accident Locations.................................10

Step 1.4

Select Sites for Investigation ...........................................................10

Step-by-Step Guide ..........................................................................................11


STEP 2 Investigate Hazardous Locations .................................................................13
Step 2.1

Collect the Accident Data ................................................................14

Step 2.2

Presentation of the Accident Data ...................................................15

Step 2.3

Analyze the Accident Data ..............................................................17

Step 2.4

Inspect the Accident Site .................................................................18

Step 2.5

Review the Information and Formulate Conclusions .......................19

Step-by-Step Guide ..........................................................................................19

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STEP 3 Formulate Candidate Projects......................................................................21


Step 3.1

Identify Treatment Options ..............................................................21

Step 3.2

Develop a Preliminary Treatment Proposal.....................................25

Step 3.3

Review Site Constraints and Modify Treatment Proposal ...............28

Step 3.4

Prepare Concept Design Plan .........................................................29

Step 3.5

Prepare Cost Estimate ....................................................................29

Step 3.6

Write an Accident Blackspot Report ................................................30

Step-by-Step Guide ..........................................................................................30


APPENDICES .......................................................................................................................33

APPENDIX A
Typical TARAS Rank report & map of accident locations.

APPENDIX B
Example of TARAS Listing report

APPENDIX C
Example of TARAS Summary Report

APPENDIX D
Sample of a completed Traffic Accident Report (TAR)

APPENDIX E
Chart of Traffic Accident Descriptions (TAD) codes

APPENDIX F
Typical Accident Factor Chart

APPENDIX G
Typical Site Inspection Field Notes format

APPENDIX H
Sample preliminary cost estimate

APPENDIX I
Typical Accident Blackspot Report Format

APPENDIX J
Accident Blackspots Ranking Spreadsheet for Site Data and Project Evaluation

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Glossary of Terms
Accident Rate

number of major accidents per year for intersections and short mid-block sections
(less than 500 meters) or major accidents per year per km for road sections longer
than 500 meters

Accident Factor Chart

a tabular format of presentation of key information about each accident at an


intersection or section of road

Blackspot

intersection or road section which has a high accident rate

Blackspot Project

road accident reduction project at a blackspot

CBA

Cost-Benefit Analysis a technique for calculating an indicator of the economic merit


of a project

Clear Zone

the unobstructed, relatively flat area provided beyond the edge of the traveled way for
the recovery of errant vehicles (includes any shoulders or auxiliary lanes)

Collision Diagram

a diagrammatic representation of accidents that have occurred at an intersection or


along a road section

Hazardous Location

blackspot intersection or road length which has a high accident rate

Hazardous Location Report

a report that documents the outcome of the investigation of a hazardous location and
provides details of the resulting proposed candidate blackspot project

MCA

Multi-criteria Analysis a technique for prioritizing projects on the basis of several


decision criteria

National Road Network

the roads for which the Department of Public Works and Highways is responsible

Road Accident

a localized infrastructure and/or traffic management treatment specifically

Reduction Project

designed to make the road safer to use

TAD

Traffic Accident Description a numerical code assigned to each accident type

TAR

Traffic Accident Report a form that is filled in by the attending police officer at the
scene of an accident to record details of the accident

TARAS

Traffic Accident Recording and Analysis System a database in which details of


accidents on the National Road Network are recorded and analyzed

Treatment

road works or traffic management measures implemented at a particular site to


reduce road safety hazards at that location

Injury Types
Fatal Injury

an injury resulting in death within 30 days of the road accident

Serious Injury

an injury that is serious enough to require admission to hospital, but is not fatal

Minor Injury

an injury that requires medical attention, but not admission to hospital

Accident Types
Fatal Accident

an accident in which at least one person is killed (within 30 days of the accident)

Serious Injury Accident

an accident in which at least one person is admitted to hospital (but nobody is killed)

Minor Injury Accident

an accident in which at least one person is injured (but nobody is killed or seriously
injured)

Property Damage Only

an accident where nobody is injured but vehicles or other property is damaged

Major Accident

a road accident in which someone is killed or injured seriously enough to be admitted


to hospital for medical treatment. These are high severity accidents in TARAS.

Minor Accident

a road accident that involves only minor injuries and property damage nobody is
killed or seriously injured

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PART 1

INTRODUCTION

Context
Road accidents affect the lives of tens of thousands of Filipinos each year and cost the
country billions of pesos each year in lost economic output. In many cases, making small
changes to the design and construction of the road and the way traffic is managed can
significantly reduce the risk of road accidents at a particular location.

Purpose and Scope of this Handbook


This Handbook describes procedures for identifying and investigating hazardous, or
blackspot, locations and developing road accident reduction projects localized, relatively
low-cost infrastructure and traffic management projects specifically designed to make the
roads safer to use. The procedures are designed to provide a systematic approach to the
identification and investigation of accident blackspots and the development of candidate
projects that can be considered for inclusion in the Road Accident Reduction Program.
The objective of the procedures described in the Handbook is to produce candidate projects
for the Road Accident Reduction Program that will effectively reduce the incidence and / or
severity of major accidents at the worst accident locations on the national arterial road
network. The Handbook contains information on the use of accident data, reports and maps
from the Traffic Accident Recording and Analysis System (TARAS) to identify hazardous
locations and assist with the analysis of accident patterns and causal factors at particular
sites. However, it does not provide guidance on the use of TARAS readers should refer to
the TARAS Users Manual for this purpose.
The Handbook provides guidance on the critical steps required to investigate and develop a
project comprising engineering countermeasures that will have a high probability of
improving road safety at a blackspot location. It therefore is aimed at developing an
understanding of the factors that contribute to road accidents as well as knowledge of which
treatments will be the most effective in addressing different accident types and patterns.
The scope of this Handbook extends to the point in the project cycle at which a road accident
reduction project has been developed to the concept design stage with a preliminary cost
estimate. Beyond this point, candidate projects will be submitted for evaluation, including
screening to ensure compliance with the criteria for acceptable road accident reduction
works, economic appraisal using cost-benefit analysis and prioritizing using a multi-criteria
analysis methodology. Procedures for these steps in the project cycle are contained in the
companion Handbook Road Accident Reduction Program: Project Evaluation Handbook.
Other manuals that provide guidelines on specific aspects of road safety include the Road
Safety Audit Manual and Highway Safety Design Standards Manual.

Structure of the Handbook


The Handbook is structured into several parts:
PART 1

describes the context, purpose and scope of the Handbook.

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Accident Blackspot Investigation Handbook

PART 2

puts the project preparation phase into context within the overall project
cycle of project preparation, evaluation and delivery. This part of the
Handbook provides an overview of each of the steps in the project cycle for
road accident reduction projects; covering identification of hazardous
locations, through site investigation, formulation of treatment options,
screening-out of unsuitable projects, economic appraisal, multi-criteria
evaluation of each candidate and ranking of projects in priority order,
culminating in delivery of funded projects.

PART 3

provides a step-by-step guide to the project preparation process for road


accident reduction projects, including: the identification of blackspots using
TARAS and other sources; investigation of hazardous locations to determine
accident patterns and contributing factors; and the development of
candidate projects comprising accident countermeasures to reduce the
incidence of accidents.

APPENDICES provide examples of accident reports etc. from TARAS and samples of other
information and tools used in the accident blackspot investigation and
project development process.

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Accident Blackspot Investigation Handbook

PART 2

THE PROJECT CYCLE

This Part of the Handbook puts the task of project preparation into context within the overall
project cycle of the project preparation, evaluation and delivery cycle. Because all of the
phases in the cycle are linked, it is important to understand where the project preparation
phase fits within this overall process. The key steps in the process are shown in the
following diagram.

PREPARATION

1. IDENTIFY
hazardous
locations

Hazardous
Locations

2. INVESTIGATE
hazardous
locations

Potential
Projects

3. FORMULATE
candidate
projects

Eligible
Projects

EVALUATION

4. SCREEN
projects against
eligibility criteria

Candidate
Projects

5. APPRAISE
project
economics

Cost-benefit
Assessment

DELIVERY

6. PRIORITIZE
using multicriteria score

Prioritised List
of Projects

7. DELIVER
projects

The steps are:


1. Identify locations where accidents are occurring at an above-average rate;
2. Investigate the locations which, on the basis of available information, have been
identified as having high accident risk;
3. Formulate a project of road safety treatments for each site based on the results of a
detailed investigation of the site;
4. Screen out projects that fail to meet the minimum criteria for an acceptable project for
road accident reduction works;
5. Appraise the economics of the project using cost-benefit analysis;
6. Prioritize the projects using a multi-criteria analysis methodology;
7. Deliver the road accident reduction project.

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Accident Blackspot Investigation Handbook

Each of these steps is briefly explained in the following sections of Part 2. Then in Part 3 of
this Handbook, the steps in the project preparation phase of the cycle are explained in stepby-step detail. A detailed explanation of steps in the Project Evaluation phase is provided in
the Road Accident Reduction Program: Project Evaluation Handbook.

Step 1: Identify Hazardous Locations


The first step in the project cycle is to identify hazardous locations. For convenience, this
Handbook uses the term blackspot to refer to all types of hazardous locations with a high
road accident risk, including:

intersections which have a higher than average accident rate;

road sections which have a higher than average accident rate; and

small areas with a higher than average accident rate.

Possible blackspots can be identified from a variety of sources they can be:

identified through statistical analysis of accident records, for example, by using


TARAS;

suggested by DPHW Regional or District engineers; or

suggested by the community or local government officials.

The aim of this Step is to identify all locations with a poor record of road safety. The criteria
to be used for identifying blackspots to be considered for treatment projects is set out in Part
3 (Table 3.1) of this Handbook. Note that the criteria focus on major accidents, since these
are the accidents that have the greatest impact on the community as a result of fatal and
serious injuries.
At this Step in the project cycle, the aim is to draw on all sources to identify all locations with
a poor road safety record and prepare a list of hazardous locations that will be considered for
treatment action. All suggestions should be included in the list of hazardous locations.
A step-by-step guide to identifying hazardous locations is provided in Part 3 of this
Handbook.

Step 2: Investigate the Hazardous Locations


The second step is to investigate the sites. In general, it will not be possible to investigate all
of the hazardous locations identified in Step 1 because of the likely large number of sites and
limited resources and time. As a general guide, priority should generally be given to
investigating sites where people are being killed or seriously injured rather than sites with a
history of large numbers of minor accidents. This means giving priority to investigating the
locations with the highest average number of major accidents per year.
The aim of the site investigation is to gather information that can be used to verify the level of
safety risk at the location and formulate a response. Information required from the site
investigation includes:

confirmation of accident frequency and severity

predominant accident type and probable cause(s) of accidents

physical geometry of the site (layout of intersections and road sections)

location environment (roadside structures, adjacent land use, environment)

traffic volume and composition

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Accident Blackspot Investigation Handbook

driver behavior

other relevant information about traffic and road use.

A step-by-step guide for investigating hazardous locations is provided in Part 3 of this


Handbook.

Step 3: Formulate Candidate Projects


Having identified and investigated a blackspot location, the next step is to formulate a
proposal for reducing the level of accident risk. In most cases, this will involve formulating a
project that will involve one or more engineering treatments. In some cases, the proposal to
reduce accident risk may also include recommendations for enforcement and/or community
education to address matters relating to driver behavior. The types of treatment should be
matched to the location and accident trend profile, taking into consideration:

site and traffic conditions (such as right of way, pavement conditions, sight distance
etc);

effectiveness of the treatment in reducing accident frequency and severity;

appropriateness of the treatment in the context of road environment and road network
at each location; and

preliminary estimated cost of the treatment.

Detailed information on selecting and designing road safety treatments is contained in the
Section 3 of this Handbook.
For the purposes of evaluating and prioritizing blackspot improvement projects, the outputs
from the project formulation step must include:

a description or concept plan of the proposed treatment;

a preliminary estimate of the cost of the treatment works;

whether or not the works will require land acquisition and resettlement of persons
living on the site;

whether or not there will be significant environmental impacts such as major


earthworks, changes to drainage patterns, disturbance of native forests and wildlife
etc; and

an estimate of the number of vehicles that pass through the site each day (AADT
from traffic counts if possible, or a realistic estimate of traffic volume).

A step-by-step guide to formulating candidate projects is provided in Part 3 of this Handbook.

Step 4: Screen-out Ineligible Projects


In some cases, a proposed road safety project can have adverse social, environmental or
other implications or be inconsistent with other road development plans for the area. This
can mean that the proposed project is not an acceptable solution to the road safety problem
and is unlikely to be implemented regardless of its other merits. The purpose of this step is
to screen out and review those projects that have serious drawbacks. This avoids wasting
scarce resources on detailed evaluation of potential projects that have little realistic chance
of being implemented. Screening of projects can also avoid a situation where funds may be
allocated to a project that is not feasible or cannot be implemented for various reasons.

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Accident Blackspot Investigation Handbook

The projects that fail to meet the eligibility criteria can then be reviewed and either:

reformulated in a way that avoids the original drawbacks, typically, by finding a


different solution to the road safety problems; or

removed from further consideration if no acceptable alternative solution can be found


to rectify the problems with the project.

Procedures for screening out ineligible projects are described in the Road Accident
Reduction Program: Project Evaluation Handbook.

Step 5: Appraise the Project Economics


Potential projects that pass through the screening process (Step 4) are then evaluated in
detail. In general, the aim of evaluating projects is to find the projects that provide the most
cost-effective way of allocating money that deliver the best return from every peso spent.
In the context of road accident reduction projects, this means delivering the greatest
reduction in road safety risk and greatest reduction in numbers of accidents for the lowest
cost. The purpose of this step in the evaluation process is to calculate an indicator (a
number) that measures the overall economic merit of the project. This economic indicator
then becomes a key input to the process for prioritizing projects in Step 6.
The assessment of the project economics is conducted using a Cost-Benefit Analysis (CBA)
approach. Procedures for the economic assessment of projects are described in the Road
Accident Reduction Program: Project Evaluation Handbook.

Step 6: Prioritize the Projects


Whether or not a project delivers good value for money and is a cost-effective solution to the
road safety problem is the major consideration when choosing between projects competing
for funding. But other factors should also be taken into consideration. For example, if two
projects have similar economic performance then it is reasonable to:

prefer one that does not require land acquisition or resettlement;

prefer one that has less environmental impact; and

prefer one in a location with higher traffic volume since in most cases, implementing a
road safety treatment will also produce benefits in terms of reduced congestion and
fewer secondary accidents (accidents caused by the traffic disruption).

The prioritization process for road accident reduction projects uses a Multi-criteria Analysis
(MCA) approach to calculate a multi-criteria score for each project. The multi-criteria score is
a measure of the relative merit of a project taking into account a range of decision criteria,
such as:

the value that the project will deliver in terms of road safety benefits per peso of
project cost;

its acceptability from a social and environmental perspective; and

its potential secondary benefits in terms of reduced congestion and reduced


secondary accidents.

Sorting the projects from the highest scoring project to the lowest produces a prioritized list of
projects. Projects near the top of the list are high priority projects. Projects that are selected
for funding allocation should come from the group of highest scoring projects since these
deliver the greatest road safety benefits.

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Accident Blackspot Investigation Handbook

Procedures for establishing project priorities are described in the Road Accident Reduction
Program: Project Evaluation Handbook.

Step 7: Deliver the Project


The final step is to obtain budget allocation and release of funds, and implement the highest
ranked projects. This Handbook does not cover the budget process for funding of road
accident reduction projects, or the contracting and delivery of engineering works at
hazardous locations.

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Accident Blackspot Investigation Handbook

PART 3

PREPARATION OF ROAD ACCIDENT REDUCTION


PROJECTS

This Part of the Handbook provides a step-by-step guide to the identification and
investigation of hazardous locations, or blackspots, and the development of candidate
projects to reduce the incidence and / or severity of road accidents at those locations.
The project preparation phase comprises the first three steps in the project cycle:
Step 1

Identify hazardous locations

Step 2

Investigate hazardous locations with an emphasis on those with the highest


numbers of major accidents

Step 3

Develop a project of road safety improvements to reduce the incidence of accidents


at each location investigated.

At the end of this stage of the project cycle, concept plans for infrastructure improvements to
reduce the occurrence of accidents at hazardous locations will have been prepared and
costed. Candidate projects will be submitted for evaluation in accordance with the processes
and steps detailed in the Road Accident Reduction Program: Project Evaluation Handbook.

STEP 1 Identify Hazardous Locations


PREPARATION

1. IDENTIFY
hazardous
locations

Hazardous
Locations

2. INVESTIGATE
hazardous
locations

Potential
Projects
3. FORMULATE
candidate
projects

4. SCREEN
projects against
eligibility criteria

EVALUATION

Candidate
Projects

Eligible
Projects
5. APPRAISE
project
economics

Project
Scores
6. PRIORITIZE
using multicriteria scores

DELIVERY

The first stage of the project cycle for the Road Accident Reduction
Program is the identification of hazardous locations. The objective
of this stage of the process is to establish which locations are the
most hazardous, as indicated by accident statistics, as a precursor
to progressing through the subsequent steps of project
development and evaluation. By focusing resources on the most
hazardous sites, the likelihood of achieving the most beneficial
road safety outcomes for the community for each peso spent on
blackspot projects will be maximized.

Prioritized List
of Projects

7. DELIVER
projects

To be eligible for consideration for inclusion in the Road Accident


Reduction Program as a candidate blackspot project, a site must have a high frequency of
accidents. The criteria in Table 3.1 should be met. Projects that do not meet the minimum
criteria will be screened out at the project evaluation phase (refer Road Accident Reduction
Program: Project Evaluation Handbook).

Table 3.1

Criteria for Identifying Blackspots

Location Type

Indicator of Potential Blackspot

Specific Location Intersection or short midblock section (length<500m)

Average of 3 major accidents per year over the


past 2 to 3 years

Road section

Average of 3 major accidents per year per


kilometer of road length over the past 2 to 3
years

Longer than 500 meters

The criteria are focused on major accidents, since fatal and serious injury accidents have the
greatest impact on the community both in terms of economic and social costs.

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Accident Blackspot Investigation Handbook

At this step in the project cycle, the aim is to draw on all sources of information and data to
produce a list of hazardous locations that will be considered for treatment action. The primary
source of information to establish the worst accident locations is TARAS. Other possible
blackspot sites may be identified from other sources and these should be given due
consideration.
The process of identifying hazardous locations can be broken down into the following four
steps:
Step 1.1

Analyze accident data using TARAS to establish the locations with the worst
accident history

Step 1.2

Review locations nominated from other sources

Step 1.3

Compile listings of worst accident locations

Step 1.4

Select sites for investigation

Each of these steps is described in detail in the following Sections, followed by a step-bystep guide to identifying hazardous locations.

Step 1.1

Analyze Accident Data

Accident data on the National Road Network is maintained in TARAS. Data on road
accidents are collected and recorded in TARAS in a way that allows them to be analyzed
within the system and produce a range of standard and user defined outputs in the form of
reports, charts and maps that are suited to specific needs. Minimal knowledge of the TARAS
program is required to produce many of the standard outputs. For detailed information on
the use of TARAS, readers should refer to the TARAS Users Manual.
To establish the most hazardous locations, a report that lists the worst accident sites should
be produced from TARAS. The report must cover a period of at least two years, preferably
three, to be consistent with the criteria for identifying blackspots shown in Table 3.11. The
standard TARAS Rank report for worst accident sites will produce a list of all sites in the
designated area that meet the minimum accident criteria. Reports can be produced for each
DPWH Region and/or District as required. They can also be produced at a National, Province
or Local Government level.
Maps showing hazardous locations can also be produced. These are useful to gain a visual
appreciation of the distribution of blackspot locations. They also will show where clusters of
blackspot locations exist along a particular road or within a confined area. These may need
to be investigated as a group, rather than individually, to determine if there are common
factors that are contributing to the accidents.
Samples of typical reports and maps from TARAS are included in Appendices A, B and C.

In the early phase after implementation of TARAS only limited data may be available. During this phase
at least one complete year of data would be desirable.

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Accident Blackspot Investigation Handbook

Step 1.2

Review Locations Nominated from Other Sources

Possible blackspots can also be identified from a number of other sources, such as Regional
or District DPWH engineers, community members and local government officials. The local
knowledge of hazardous locations from such sources often provides valuable additional
information, particularly about the cause of accidents.
Sites nominated from such sources should be checked against the reports of worst accident
locations produced from TARAS in Step 1.1. If the site is included, proceed to the next step,
otherwise the accident history of the nominated location should be extracted from TARAS. If
the recorded accident history does not meet the minimum criteria for identifying blackspots,
the location should not be included on the final list of worst accident locations unless there is
an alternative source of reliable data on major accidents at the site (for example police
records that have not been recorded in TARAS). Sites that do not meet the blackspot criteria
could be reviewed under the Road Safety Audit Program and eventually included for
treatment in the Accident Prevention Program.

Step 1.3

Compile Listings of Worst Accident Locations

Having identified blackspot locations in Steps 1.1 and 1.2, the next task is to compile final
listings, from which sites will be selected for detailed investigation.
Separate lists should be produced for:

specific locations (intersections and short mid-block sections less than 500 meters in
length); and

road sections (longer than 500 meters).

Locations on the lists should be ranked based on average accident rates (i.e. major
accidents / year or major accidents / km / year as appropriate). This will allow accident rates
to be readily checked for compliance with the criteria for identifying blackspots. Checking
compliance at this stage will minimize the possibility of wasting resources on investigation
and the development of a project that would be screened out during the evaluation phase.
Preparation of the lists using an electronic spreadsheet, such as Microsoft Excel, can be
useful as the data can be readily sorted. A copy of an Accident Blackspots Ranking
spreadsheet that can be used for recording this information is in Appendix J. This
spreadsheet also includes columns for addition of data and the formulas required for the
Project Evaluation phase of the project cycle.
The lists of worst accident locations should be updated annually to ensure they reflect the
most recent accident data and that resources continue to be focused on the most hazardous
locations.

Step 1.4

Select Sites for Investigation

Priority for site investigation and subsequent steps in the project cycle is generally given to
those locations with the highest accident rates.
Sites at which there have been treatment works recently implemented (say, within the past
two years) either under the Road Accident Reduction Program or another road infrastructure
program, should be filtered out and not investigated unless accident records show that the
previous treatment has not improved road safety.

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Accident Blackspot Investigation Handbook

Due consideration should be given to proceeding to the investigation step for sites where
there have been significant safety concerns raised by the community or local officials even
though the accident rate may be lower than would normally warrant investigation.
The actual number of locations to be investigated will depend upon the resources available
to undertake the investigations and subsequent project development activities as well as the
level of funding available to implement accident reduction projects.

Step-by-Step Guide
Table 3.2 provides a step-by-step guide to the identification of hazardous locations.

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Accident Blackspot Investigation Handbook

Table 3.2

Step-by-step Guide to Identification of Hazardous Locations

Step

Explanation

Step 1.1

Obtain reports and maps of worst accident locations from TARAS for the
designated area.

Analyze
Accident
Data

Reports and maps should be produced for at least the most recent two,
preferably three, years for which complete accident data is available.
Maps will indicate where accident sites are clustered in an area or along a length
of road.

Step 1.2
Review
Locations
Nominated
from Other
Sources

Review locations nominated from other sources (e.g. Regional or District DPWH
engineers, community, local government officials). Is the site included in the
TARAS report of worst accident locations?
If yes, proceed to Step 1.3
If no, extract accident data for the site from TARAS and/or check alternative
reliable source of accident data
Does the accident history meet the criteria for identifying blackspots (Table 2.1)?
If yes, include in listings of worst sites.
If no, do not consider the site any further for the Road Accident Reduction
Program.

Step 1.3
Compile
Listings of
Worst
Accident
Locations

Step 1.4
Select Sites
for
Investigation

Compile lists, ranked by average accident rate based on the information from
Steps 1.1 and 1.2 for specific locations (intersections and mid-block lengths less
than 500 meters) and road sections. Do all locations listed conform to the minimum
accident criteria for identifying blackspots?
If yes, proceed to Step 1.4
If no, remove non-conforming locations from the lists then proceed to Step 1.4

From the listings of worst accident locations, select the sites to be investigated taking
into consideration the following factors:

Give priority to sites with the highest number of major accidents

Consider sites where there is a high level of community concern

Impacts of recently completed treatment works

Other planned road infrastructure projects that may affect a site

Resources available to undertake investigations and the development of


projects

Funding available to implement projects

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Accident Blackspot Investigation Handbook

STEP 2 Investigate Hazardous Locations


PREPARATION

Hazardous
Locations

2. INVESTIGATE
hazardous
locations

Potential
Projects
3. FORMULATE
candidate
projects

4. SCREEN
projects against
eligibility criteria

Candidate
Projects

Eligible
Projects
5. APPRAISE
project
economics

Project
Scores
6. PRIORITIZE
using multicriteria scores

DELIVERY

The investigation of hazardous locations requires a systematic


and logical step-by-step approach and an understanding of the
nature of road accidents.

1. IDENTIFY
hazardous
locations

EVALUATION

Step 1 of the project cycle established a list of the most


hazardous locations for which investigations would be conducted.
The objectives of the investigation of a hazardous location are to
identify the predominant accident types and patterns and by the
analysis of reported accidents and examination of the site, reach
conclusions regarding the factors contributing to accidents.

Prioritized List
of Projects

7. DELIVER
projects

The road traffic system comprises three elements the human, the vehicle and the road.
The interaction between these elements is complex and the road user, whether a driver, rider
or pedestrian, is required to continually process information and make decisions. The safe
operation of the road system requires these decisions to be correct. Good road and traffic
engineering can assist by ensuring that the road user is presented with a road system that,
as far as practicable, is predictable, minimizes the need for complex decisions by guiding,
warning and reducing the number of potential conflicts and is forgiving so that the
consequences are not severe if mistakes are made.
Figure 3.1 shows the typical mix of human, vehicle and road environment factors involved in
road accidents. The diagram shows for example that around 95% of accidents involve an
error by the road user, whilst 24% involve a combination of human and road environment
factors.

H u m a n fa c to rs
(9 5 % )
Road
e n v iro n m e n t
fa c to rs
(2 8 % )

24%
67%

V e h ic le fa c to rs (8 % )

Figure 3.1 Contributing Factors in Road Accidents

While the road environment is a contributing factor in a little over one quarter of road
accidents, improved engineering of the road and roadside can have an impact on a larger
proportion of accidents by modifying driver behavior or by ensuring that the severity of the
outcome of an accident is minimized. For example, if a driver strays off path on a country
road when talking on a cell phone, he / she has more chance of regaining control of the
vehicle if the shoulders on the road are paved. In addition, the outcome of a resulting
accident is likely to be less severe if there are no hazardous objects (poles, trees etc) close
to the road.

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Accident Blackspot Investigation Handbook

The process of investigating a hazardous location can be broken down into the following five
steps:
Step 2.1

Collect the accident data relevant to the hazardous location

Step 2.2

Presentation of the accident data in a format which facilitates analysis

Step 2.3

Analyze the accident data to establish accident patterns and common


characteristics

Step 2.4

Inspect the accident site

Step 2.5

Review the information and formulate conclusions regarding causes and


possible solutions

Each of these steps is described below, followed by a step-by-step guide to the investigation
of hazardous locations.

Step 2.1

Collect the Accident Data

The first step of the hazardous location investigation phase is to collect all the accident data
and information relevant to the site being investigated. The primary source of accident data is
TARAS.
TARAS Data
A range of standard and customized outputs is available from TARAS for both intersections
and mid-block sections of road. The most commonly used and useful TARAS output to assist
with the investigation of a hazardous location is the Listing report. A sample is attached as
Appendix B. This report will generally provide most of the accident data that are required for
the investigation phase. For each recorded accident, the report includes information on:

date, day and time of occurrence;

overall accident severity (fatal, serious injury, minor injury) as well as the injury level
of each person involved;

number, gender and age of the people involved;

accident type, including the Traffic Accident Description (TAD) (refer to Step 2.2 for
explanation of TAD);

light (day, night etc) and weather conditions (wet, dry etc);

vehicles involved and direction of travel at the time of the accident;

road users involved (driver, passenger, bicyclist etc); and

location details, including type of traffic control (e.g. traffic signals), type of road
surface etc.

The period over which accidents are to be included in the investigation should be as long as
possible so that accident patterns and trends can be established. A minimum of two years of
accident data is desirable and a maximum of five years should be adopted. Accidents that
occurred more than five years ago are likely to have limited relevance to current conditions.

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Accident Blackspot Investigation Handbook

In the period immediately following the implementation of TARAS, limited accident data may
be available. During this time at least one year of data would be desirable. It should be kept
in mind that the evaluation of a blackspot project that is developed as a consequence of an
investigation will generally be assessed using the average accident rate over the most recent
two or three years.
Accident histograms or bar charts can also be produced from TARAS. These can be used to
highlight particular characteristics and accident patterns at a hazardous location. Common
factors that can be displayed on histograms include;

TADs;

collision types;

time of day or day of the week;

vehicle types;

weather condition; and

light condition.

A sample of a histogram in the form of a TARAS Summary report is attached as Appendix C.


Histograms alone rarely provide sufficient information to allow accident patterns to be
explained. However, they can provide a strong visual representation of particular
characteristics of accidents at a hazardous location.
Traffic Accident Report (TAR) Forms
A TAR form is filled out by the police following an accident. The TAR is the source of the
information about an accident that is housed in TARAS. During the course of a hazardous
location investigation most of the information pertaining to each accident can be accessed
through TARAS without the need to see the TAR forms. However, for many, if not most
investigations, it is desirable to obtain a copy of each of the accident forms relating to the
hazardous location as they can aid in developing a better understanding of the causes of the
accidents that are being investigated. Comments provided by the attending police officer and
the sketch diagram of the accident that is provided on the form can be particularly
informative.
A sample of a completed TAR form is provided in Appendix D.

Step 2.2

Presentation of the Accident Data

The reports and histograms produced from TARAS provide the basic forms of presentation of
accident data. However, translation of the available information into alternative formats can
greatly assist the process of analyzing the data, identifying accident patterns and reaching
conclusions about likely contributing factors. Traffic accident data recording and reports use
Traffic Accident Description (TAD) codes to provide information about the accident.
Traffic Accident Description (TAD) Codes
A TAD code is a number that is assigned to identify particular accident types. For example, a
collision between a left turning vehicle at an intersection and another vehicle traveling
straight through from the opposing direction has a TAD code of 122.
The chart showing all TAD codes is included as Appendix E. Note that each column of the
chart corresponds with a particular grouping of accident types. For example, all accident
types that involve overtaking movements are in the same column and are part of the 150
series of TAD codes. This method of coding and classifying of accidents facilitates extraction
of data from TARAS and the accident analysis process.

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Accident Blackspot Investigation Handbook

Collision Diagram
A collision diagram is a diagrammatic representation of the accidents that have occurred at
an intersection or along a section of road. It provides a visual summary of the accident
patterns, overlaying an outline sketch that is representative of the intersection or section of
road. A typical collision diagram is shown in Figure 3.2.

Figure 3.2:

Collision diagrams are very effective in highlighting the predominant accident patterns at a
particular site. Collision diagrams can be prepared using information contained in a TARAS
accident listing, however, greater accuracy is assured if the TARs are used.

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Accident Blackspot Investigation Handbook

The main features of a collision diagram are:

each accident is represented by arrow(s) and/or symbols for each road user or object
involved in the accident;

arrows indicate the direction of travel or the movement being made at the time of the
collision. Generally, fatal, serious injury and minor injury accidents are represented
by a closed circle, an open circle and short bar respectively, at the point of contact;

the same accident types are clustered; and

accident details, including date, time, weather condition and light condition, may be
included as labels (particularly if the diagram is relatively simple and uncluttered).

TARAS Summary Report


A TARAS Summary Report can assist in the presentation of accident data and in the
analysis of traffic accident attributes and patterns. These can be used to show a trend in
collision type (TAD codes), or other information relevant to the accident problems such as
accidents in the wet, accidents at night or accidents involving specific types of road users.
An example of a TARAS Summary Report is in Appendix C.
Histogram / Chart
A histogram or chart of traffic accident factors using a spreadsheet can also assist in the
identification of trends and in the presentation of data. These may show a pattern in accident
types or other data relevant to the accident problem.
Accident Factor Chart
An accident factor chart can be used to present accident data in a tabular format to assist
with analysis and identification of common factors. This type of analysis may be desirable
where manual examination of data is needed rather than the TARAS Summary Report.
Items of data in the tabulation would generally include TAD codes, accident severity, day of
week, time of day, light conditions, road surface conditions and the direction of vehicles or a
sketch of the accident. Sample accident factor charts (completed and blank) are in Appendix
F.

Step 2.3

Analyze the Accident Data

Analysis of the accident data is the first step towards diagnosing the accident problem at the
location that is being investigated. The objective of this step is to:

identify the predominant accident types;

establish common factors and patterns in accident data; and

formulate preliminary ideas about the road environment factors that may be
contributing to accidents.

The data collected and presented in Steps 2.1 and 2.2 provide the basis for a desktop
analysis, although the investigator may have pre-existing knowledge of the site which will
add value. Careful and systematic examination of accident listings, histograms, collision
diagrams and accident factor charts is required to identify the predominant accident types
and patterns and establish possible links to the road environment. Examination of a site
plan, if available, would also provide further understanding of the site.

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Accident Blackspot Investigation Handbook

It is not unusual to have two or more common accident types at a particular location.
Conversely, at some locations the accident types might be quite diverse and there may not
be a dominant type. Under such circumstances it becomes more important to systematically
and logically examine the data to determine any common factors and patterns, and relate
these to site conditions and driver behavior.
At this stage some consideration of possible treatment options would be desirable so that
implications of various treatments can be considered during the next step in the process
when the site is inspected. However, at this point it is important not to jump to conclusions,
as subsequent steps in the process are critical to a full understanding of the situation and the
successful outcome of the project preparation process.

Step 2.4

Inspect the Accident Site

The next step is to inspect the intersection or section of road that is being investigated. The
objectives of the site inspection are to:

become familiar with the location that is being investigated;

gather information on road and roadside features and conditions that may be
contributing or relevant to the accident types and patterns; and

observe traffic operation and road user behavior;

When conducting a site inspection it is important to remember that a road accident is a rare
event. While many thousands of road users can safety pass through an intersection or along
a section of road without incident, occasionally an accident occurs when someone fails to
cope with the road environment. The reasons for this breakdown are not always obvious.
Consequently, the site inspection needs to be thorough and systematic so that any possible
road or roadside features that may have contributed to accidents are identified.
Prior to the inspection, obtain a copy of a plan of the site, if available. Examine the plan,
keeping in mind the knowledge gained from the accident analysis in the previous step, and
note any features that may require attention during the site inspection. However, continue to
keep an open mind on possible causes and treatment options.
Another source of site information that may be useful is the Road and Bridge Information
Applications (RBIA) database.
Some important principles regarding site inspections are:

The site should be driven and walked to gain the greatest possible appreciation for
the road and roadside environment from the relevant road users perspective. Where
appropriate, it may be necessary to ride by bicycle or motorcycle;

The timing of an inspection may need to coincide with the predominant time that
accidents have occurred, for example a specific time of day or night;

The inspection should extend beyond the immediate vicinity of the accident location
to ensure that all possible contributing factors are accounted for; and

Take plenty of photographs of the site. These are useful for further review in the
office or when considering the implementation of a particular treatment. A video
recording can also be useful for further consideration.

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Accident Blackspot Investigation Handbook

A site inspection may need to consider the following factors:

Road and traffic environment, including the topography and surrounding land use

Type of traffic control (no control, give way or stop signs, traffic signals, roundabout)

Pedestrian facilities

Visibility for drivers consider driving position for various types of vehicles

Visibility for pedestrians

Standards of existing road layout (horizontal and vertical geometry)

Adequacy of existing warning or regulatory signs

Condition of the road surface

Driving behaviour

Speed of traffic

Traffic volumes and mix of vehicles

Type and number of other road users pedestrians, cyclists etc

Night time use of the site

Conditions in the wet

Conditions in fog or when the sun is low in the sky

The site visit should also be used to consider the implications relating to the choice of
improvement options and the implications related to construction of the works.
A record of the site inspection with relevant notes should be kept. An example of a typical
format, is included as Appendix G.

Step 2.5

Review the Information and Formulate Conclusions

The final step of the investigation stage is to review all the information gathered about the
hazardous location and formulate conclusions regarding the causes of accidents and the
treatment proposal that is likely to be the most effective in improving safety at the location.
The outcomes of the accident analysis and the information gathered from the site inspection
need to be closely examined to determine if there are road or roadside improvements that
could be implemented to reduce the accident risk or whether there are behavioral factors that
may need to be addressed through enforcement or community education. In some cases a
combination may be appropriate.
It should be remembered that although the causes of accidents at a location may be related
to behavior, engineering solutions may also be appropriate. For example, at an intersection
where the speed is a major cause of accidents, the construction of a roundabout (rotonda)
may be a good solution, as it will force a reduction in vehicle speeds through the intersection.
If necessary, further information about the hazardous location should be sought at this stage.
The police, local government engineers and the community, particularly those living or
working near the site, can often provide valuable local knowledge that will add value and
assist in reaching a conclusion about the cause of accidents.

Step-by-Step Guide
Table 3.3 provides a step-by-step guide to the investigation of hazardous locations.

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Accident Blackspot Investigation Handbook

Table 3.3

Step-by-step Guide to the Investigation of Hazardous Locations

Step

Explanation

Step 2.1

Collect all accident data relevant to the hazardous location to be investigated.

Collect the
Accident Data

Obtain accident listings and, where necessary, histograms from TARAS.


Obtain copies of all Traffic Accident Reports from the DPWH regional office.

Step 2.2
Presentation of
the Accident
Data

Present the accident data in a format that is best suited for analysis purposes
using some or all of the following:
TARAS accident listings
TARAS histograms
Collision diagram
Accident factor chart
Spreadsheet analysis

Step 2.3
Analyze the
Accident Data

Carefully and systematically examine the accident data to:


Identify predominant accident types.
Establish common factors and patterns.
Formulate preliminary ideas about the road environment factors that may be
contributing to accidents.

Step 2.4
Inspect the
Accident Site

Inspect the hazardous location to become familiar with the site, gather
information on relevant road and roadside features, and observe traffic operation
and road user behavior.
Drive, walk, ride through the site, as appropriate.
Inspect at time that coincides with predominant time of occurrence of
accidents.
Extend the inspection beyond the immediate vicinity of the accident site.
Take photographs and, if necessary, video recording.
Keep a record of the site inspection (refer Appendix G)

Step 2.5
Review the
Information &
Formulate
Conclusions

Review outcome of accident analysis and information from site inspection, seek
addition information as required and formulate conclusions regarding the
treatment proposal that is most likely to be effective.

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Accident Blackspot Investigation Handbook

STEP 3 Formulate Candidate Projects


PREPARATION

1. IDENTIFY
hazardous
locations

Hazardous
Locations

2. INVESTIGATE
hazardous
locations

Potential
Projects
3. FORMULATE
candidate
projects

4. SCREEN
projects against
eligibility criteria

EVALUATION

Candidate
Projects

Eligible
Projects
5. APPRAISE
project
economics

Project
Scores
6. PRIORITIZE
using multicriteria scores

DELIVERY

The final step of the project preparation phase is to formulate a


treatment proposal. The objective of this step is to develop a
blackspot project proposal comprising engineering measures that
will effectively address the predominant accident types at the
hazardous location. In some cases, recommendations relating to
enforcement and / or community education campaigns may be
appropriate to address matters relating to driver behavior.

Prioritized List
of Projects

7. DELIVER
projects

As previously mentioned, the cause of accidents is complex. They


occur when the road user fails to cope with the road environment.
But a road accident is the end result of a chain of events, most of which the road safety
engineer has no control over. The objective of treating hazardous locations with engineering
measures is to break the chain of events that has lead to accidents in the past.
It is rare that the investigation carried out in Step 2 will point to a single cause of accidents at
a blackspot location. Accordingly, there is generally a number of different remedial safety
treatments that could be applied either individually or in combination. In developing the
treatment proposal for a blackspot, measures that have proven to be successful in reducing
the incidence of accidents in similar circumstances should be applied.
The process of formulating a candidate project can be broken down into 5 steps:
Step 3.1

Identify treatment options that address the predominant accident types

Step 3.2

Develop a preliminary treatment proposal that will maximize expected benefits

Step 3.3

Review site constraints and modify the treatment proposal accordingly

Step 3.4

Prepare a concept design plan

Step 3.5

Prepare a cost estimate based on the concept design

Step 3.6

Write a hazardous location report

Note that Steps 3.2 to 3.5 may be iterative, that is, it may be necessary to review the
outcome of earlier steps if factors identified in subsequent steps make this necessary. For
example, when preparing a concept plan it is discovered that a satisfactory design cannot be
achieved without land acquisition and resettlement, which had not been expected to be
necessary, there may be a need to return to Step 3.2 and review the treatment proposal.
Similarly, if an expensive treatment is not viable, a lower cost option may need to be
recommended.
Each of these steps is described below, followed by a step-by-step guide to the formulation
of candidate projects.

Step 3.1

Identify Treatment Options

The objective of this first step in the development of a treatment proposal is to identify the
engineering measures that would be most likely to be effective in reducing the incidence or
severity of accidents at the blackspot location that was investigated in Step 2 of the project
preparation phase.
As mentioned previously, it is likely that the final treatment proposal will comprise a number
of measures. At this stage, all possible treatment options need to be identified. In subsequent
steps the options will be examined and an overall treatment proposal will be developed.

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Accident Blackspot Investigation Handbook

The choice of treatment also needs to take into consideration the appropriateness of a
treatment in the context of the road environment and road network at the location. For
example, traffic signals or street lighting may not be appropriate in a rural environment.
Table 3.4 provides guidance on the types of countermeasures that are applicable to some of
the common accident types at intersections and on road sections. Whilst the table is quite
comprehensive, it by no means shows the complete range of treatments and possible
approaches to improving safety at blackspots. Treatments utilizing new technology are
continually being developed and tested.
Table 3.4

Guide to Countermeasure Treatments

Accident Type

Treatment Options

a) Countermeasures for Intersection Accidents


Right angle /
cross traffic

Left turn with


opposing
through traffic

Clear obstructions if sight distance is inadequate.

At a stop or give way controlled intersection where the accidents are


due to vehicles failing to stop on the controlled approach (i.e.
overshooting), install / improve advance warning signs, advance
direction signs, median island, more conspicuous or duplicate give
way or stop signs; repaint / install center lines and holding lines.

Install traffic signals in an urban environment if low cost treatments


will not be effective (i.e. gap acceptance problems) and if traffic
volumes are moderate to high.

Install a roundabout (rotonda) if traffic volumes are moderate to high


and side road carries significant traffic.

Realign minor road approaches to create offset T intersections if low


cost treatments are not effective and traffic volumes are low.

Prevent the cross movement on the minor road by closing the


median (on a divided road) or installation of traffic islands on the
minor road approaches to allow right in and right out only (note:
these treatments will also affect turning movements in addition to
cross traffic movements).

Improve visibility of existing traffic signals, if necessary by removal of


obstructions, installation of additional signal lights (may include
overhead lights); provision of traffic signal warning signs.

Adjust traffic signals to increase yellow and / or all red periods.

Clear obstruction if sight distance to opposing through traffic is


inadequate.

Modify intersection geometry if visibility for left turn vehicles is


obstructed by left turn traffic from the opposite direction.

If intersection is signalized, provide fully controlled left turn phase


(i.e. green, yellow and red left turn arrows).

Provide exclusive left turn lane.

Construct roundabout (rotonda) if low cost options are not effective


and traffic volumes are moderate to high.

Ban the left turn movement if turn volume is low and there are
alternative routes.

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Accident Blackspot Investigation Handbook

Accident Type

Left turn or
right turn /
rear end

Straight
ahead / rear
end

Pedestrian

Night time (all


accident
types)

Wet weather
(all accident
types)

Treatment Options

Provide auxiliary left or right turn lane as appropriate.

Extend existing or provide additional auxiliary left / right turn lane if


length is inadequate.

Ban the left turn / right turn movement if the turn volume is low and
there are alternative routes.

Install additional signal lights (including consideration of overhead


lights) or clear obstructions if visibility of traffic signals is inadequate.

Disallow right turn on red at a signalized intersection, if a contributing


factor.

Realign right turn slip lane to provide high entry angle (60 - 70).

Install additional signal lights (including consideration of overhead


lights) or clear obstructions if visibility of traffic signals is inadequate.

Clear obstructions or install advance warning signs (including


consideration of illuminated signs linked to traffic signals to advise
drivers to prepare to stop) if the sight distance to the back of queued
traffic is inadequate.

Provide / extend auxiliary left or right turn lane if accidents are due to
queuing by uninvolved turning vehicles.

Provide pedestrian crossings and / or pedestrian signal lights at


signalized intersections.

Install give way to pedestrians signs at existing crossings at


signalized intersections.

Install pedestrian islands to simplify the task of crossing the road.

Extend curbs into the roadway to simplify the task of crossing the
road and reduce the crossing distance.

Install fencing to prevent pedestrians from crossing at hazardous


locations and direct them to safer crossing points.

Construct sidewalk if none exists.

Install warning signs.

Disallow right turn on red at signalized intersection.

Install / improve line marking (lane lines, stop bars, centerlines etc.),
reflective pavement studs.

Install / improve signages (warning, direction and regulatory).

Install / improve street lighting if in an urban area.

Install / improve pavement markings (lane lines, stop lines,


centerline), and reflective pavement studs.

Install / improve signages (warning, direction and regulatory).

Improve skid resistance of road pavement.

Improve drainage of road pavement.

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Accident Blackspot Investigation Handbook

Accident Type

Treatment Options

b) Countermeasures for Accidents on Road Sections


Run-off-road

Hit roadside
object
(including
bridge)

Head on

Install / improve line marking (including centerlines and / or edge


lines), reflective pavement studs.

Install chevron alignment signs, curve warning signs with advisory


speed.

Repair / maintain gravel shoulders to avoid drop off at edge of road


pavement and provide smooth shoulders.

Pave gravel shoulders and provide edge lines (consider need for
profiled edge lines).

Improve alignment of low standard curves and / or superelevation


and / or pavement shape.

Widen traffic lanes if narrow (particularly on low radius curves).

Flatten steep cut or fill slopes (make 1 in 4 or flatter) and ensure that
they are smooth and free of hazards within the clear zone (refer also
to hit roadside object in this table).

Install safety barriers where cut or fill slopes are steep and cannot be
flattened.

Consider all treatment options listed for run-off-road accidents.

Remove the hazardous roadside object or relocate it to a low risk


location (usually beyond the clear zone).

Replace rigid lighting poles or sign posts with frangible poles / posts.

Where it is not possible to remove or relocate a hazardous roadside


object, install a safety barrier or impact attenuator.

Install guardrail (fastened to bridge end post) on the bridge approach


to provide protection.

Upgrade / replace hazardous bridge railing.

Provide / improve centerline marking, including installation /


extension of barrier lines and the installation of reflective pavement
studs.

Repair / maintain gravel shoulders to avoid drop off at edge of road


pavement and provide smooth shoulders or paved shoulders if head
on accidents are the result of vehicles losing control on the
shoulders.

Improve alignment of low standard curves and / or superelevation if


head on accidents are occurring on a curve.

Widen traffic lanes if inadequate.

Increase separation between opposing traffic flows by construction of


a median (could be raised or painted).

Install safety barriers to separate opposing traffic flows.

Construct overtaking lane.

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Accident Blackspot Investigation Handbook

Accident Type

Hit parked /
stopped
vehicle

Pedestrian

Night time (all


accident
types)

Wet weather
(all accident
types)

Step 3.2

Treatment Options

Prohibit parking - either full time or part time (e.g. during peak traffic
periods only if accidents occurring during these times).

Provide indented parking bays or increase the separation between


the parking lane and the through traffic lanes.

Relocate bus / jeepney stop or provide indented bays.

Install mid-block pedestrian operated signals.

Install zebra pedestrian crossing if on low speed road.

Install pedestrian islands and / or extend curbs into roadway to


simplify the task of crossing the road and reduce the crossing
distance.

Install fencing to prevent pedestrians from crossing at hazardous


locations and direct them to safer crossing points.

Construct sidewalk if none exists or curb to separate vehicles and


pedestrians.

Provide wider shoulder to increase separation between vehicles and


pedestrians.

Install warning signs.

Install / improve line marking (centerlines and / or edge lines),


reflective pavement studs.

Install / improve signages (warning, direction and regulatory).

Install / improve street lighting if in an urban area.

Install / improve line marking, reflective pavement studs.

Install / improve signages (warning, direction and regulatory).

Improve skid resistance of road pavement.

Improve drainage of road pavement.

Develop a Preliminary Treatment Proposal

Having identified the range of possible engineering treatments that should be considered to
target the specific accident types that have occurred at the blackspot under investigation, the
next step is to develop a preliminary treatment proposal comprising a package of measures
that are expected to achieve the greatest reduction in the frequency of accidents. However,
the benefits need to be achievable in a cost effective manner. The cost effectiveness of
candidate projects will be determined in the evaluation phase of the project cycle.
The treatment package could include recommendations regarding enforcement and / or
community education initiatives, particularly if the investigation indicates that engineering
treatments are not likely to have a significant impact at a particular site. Such
recommendations, however, are the responsibility of the enforcement or community agencies
to consider and implement and therefore do not form part of the project to be evaluated.

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Accident Blackspot Investigation Handbook

It is strongly recommended that accident investigators have a good working knowledge of the
project evaluation process (Steps 4, 5 and 6 of the project cycle), which is set out in the
Road Accident Reduction Program: Project Evaluation Handbook. An understanding of the
methodology and the parameters used to conduct an economic evaluation and rank projects
in order of priority for consideration of funding will maximize the chances of producing
candidate projects during the project preparation phase that will be cost effective and more
likely to be funded.
More particularly, to develop a treatment proposal that is to be effective, knowledge of the
likely reductions in accident rates for different treatment types is required. Table 3.5 shows
accident reduction factors (percentage reduction in the number of accidents) for a range of
standard treatment types. These accident reduction factors are derived from international
experience and have been cross-checked against available information on the outcomes of
past road safety treatment works in the Philippines. The table also includes the typical
treatment life for each treatment type, which is the period of time road safety benefits are
expected to be achieved. The table indicates that the benefits and cost effectiveness of low
cost treatments such as improved signages, linemarking and reflective pavement studs
compared to geometric improvements, which are usually significantly more costly, are offset
by the fact that their treatment life is shorter. The parameters shown in Table 3.5 are used in
the project evaluation phase.

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Accident Blackspot Investigation Handbook

Table 3.5

Treatment Types and Accident Reduction Factors

Treatment Type
Signal installation
Fully control left turns (green, yellow & red left turn arrows)
Improve traffic signal visibility remove obstructions, install
additional lights (including overhead)
Roundabout (Rotonda)
Geometric improvements, channelization islands (including to
restrict cross traffic movements), auxiliary left turn lane
Auxiliary right turn lane, realign right turn slip lane
Extend left / right turn lane
Prohibit left turns
Improve sight distance clear obstructions, modify geometry
to improve visibility for turning vehicles etc
Signages warning, advisory & regulatory signs
Pavement markings - centerlines, edge lines (including
profiled edge lines)
Reflective pavement studs (RPS)
Road re-alignment on curves and at intersections to create
offset T
Improve superelevation on curves
Improve / provide gravel shoulders
Pave shoulders
Widen traffic lanes
Remove roadside hazards, install frangible poles
Road safety barriers guards rails (including at bridge end
posts), wire rope & concrete, upgrade bridge rails
Flatten fill / cut slopes
Improve skid resistance, road pavement drainage
Indented parking, ban parking, indented bus / jeepney stop,
relocate bus / jeepney stop
Median strip
Passing lane (overtaking)
Pedestrian island, construct sidewalk, curb extension, curb
construction or widen shoulders to separate vehicles and
pedestrians
Install pedestrian operated signals
Install zebra pedestrian crossing (low speed roads)
Disallow right turn on red
Pedestrian fencing
Street lighting

Accident
Reduction
Factor (%)*

Typical
Treatment
Life (Years)

40
20

20
20

10

20

75

20

35

20

15
10
10

20
20
10

15

20

25

10

25

10

15

10

50

20

20
10
30
10
15

20
10
20
20
20

20

15

10
15

20
10

10

20

40
20

20
20

35

20

25
15
10
15
25

20
10
10
10
10

*Note: Accident Reduction Factor and Typical Treatment Life values are NOT ADDITIVE.
The highest value is used if multiple treatments are proposed.

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Accident Blackspot Investigation Handbook

The preliminary treatment proposal should target as many of the accidents at the site as
possible although the primary objective is to address the predominant accident types.
Optional proposals need to be considered, particularly where treatment costs are likely to be
high. Take, for example, a blackspot site where there has been a history of run-off-road
accidents on a low radius curve. Option 1 is to realign the curve and improve the
superelevation. This treatment would involve significant costs, particularly if land acquisition
is required. Option 2 is to paint edge lines and install warning signs and chevron alignment
signs. Option 2 would be less costly but would have a lower accident reduction factor (25%
compared to 50% from Table 3.5) and a shorter treatment life (10 years compared to 20
years). Ultimately, the evaluation process would determine which option is more cost
effective.
When developing the preliminary treatment proposal, consideration may also need to be
given to the volume of traffic and mix of vehicles at the site. At an intersection, this would
generally require maximum hourly volume data for turning movements (left turning, right
turning and through traffic) using each intersection approach, particularly during peak
periods. If the intersection layout were to be changed (e.g. for provision of traffic signals,
roundabout or addition of turn lanes etc.), this traffic volume information would be used for
capacity analyses during the peak hourly traffic flows. A turning movement count may need
to be arranged if the peak hour traffic volume data is not available or cannot be readily
estimated.

Step 3.3

Review Site Constraints and Modify Treatment Proposal

Prior to proceeding to the preliminary design stage, a review of the blackspot site should be
conducted to ensure that the proposed treatment proposal and options are practical and
achievable. The objective of this step is to ensure the appropriateness of the proposed
treatments in the context of the road environment and the road network. This may require
another site inspection.
The review should identify any properties that may be affected and if resettlement of persons
living on the site may be necessary. Property acquisition and resettlement of owners or
squatters can add substantially to the human and social impact of a project and result in high
project delivery risks in terms of cost and time required to resolve land issues. Where
appropriate, changes to the preliminary treatment proposal should be made to minimize or
avoid land acquisition and resettlement if possible.
Possible environmental impacts also need to be considered and minimized. Significant
impacts might include major earthworks, changes to drainage patterns and disturbance of
native forests or wildlife. Environmental impacts are unavoidable in many road projects, but:

the impacts should be a small as possible;

contained within the project site as far as practicable; and

remedial works to reinstate the site to good environmental condition should be


included in the project cost estimate.

Candidate projects that have significant acquisition, resettlement or environmental impacts


and / or costs are likely to be filtered out during the evaluation phase (refer Road Accident
Reduction Program: Project Evaluation Handbook).
Cross-checking of the treatment proposal against the outcome of the accident analysis, to
confirm that the major accident types and as many other accidents as practical have been
addressed, should also be conducted at this stage.

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Step 3.4

Prepare Concept Design Plan

The objective of this step is to produce concept or preliminary layout plans to a sufficient
level of detail to demonstrate that the treatment proposal is practical and able to be
implemented, to display its main features and impacts, and to provide a basis for the
preparation of a preliminary cost estimate. Minor projects such as those involving pavement
marking and signage works only, or minor changes to traffic signal hardware (e.g. the
installation of a traffic signal pole with overhead lights) may not require concept plans if a
clear description of the scope of the proposed works will be sufficient.
The concept plan is to be a two dimensional plan, which shows the following:

Existing and proposed property boundaries and nearby buildings;

Existing and proposed curb lines, traffic islands and / or edges of paved roadway and
shoulders;

Proposed lane widths and other critical dimensions;

Existing and proposed traffic signal poles and signage; and

Location of utilities.

While a two dimensional plan only is required at this stage, some design in the vertical
dimension may be required to confirm the practicality of the proposed treatment and assist
with the preparation of a cost estimate. For example if level differences will require the
construction of a retaining wall to confine earthworks, some detail will be required to
establish the extent of the work so that costs can be estimated with a reasonable level of
confidence. As the design proceeds, it may be necessary to modify the treatment proposal
to account for any issues that arise.

Step 3.5

Prepare Cost Estimate

A preliminary cost estimate, based on the concept plan is to be prepared.


The preliminary estimate would generally be itemized as follows:

Project development, survey and design;

Land acquisition & resettlement;

Alterations to utilities;

Roadworks;

Remedial environmental works;

Signages and pavement markings;

Street lighting;

Traffic signal installation / alterations;

Contingency; and

Project management.

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Accident Blackspot Investigation Handbook

A typical preliminary cost estimate is included as Appendix H.


Blackspot projects are typically small in comparison with other road infrastructure projects
and the changes in ongoing maintenance and operating costs associated with road safety
projects are not significant. Accordingly, they can be ignored in the economic evaluation
process and there is no requirement to estimate such costs.

Step 3.6

Write an Accident Blackspot Report

The final step of the project preparation phase is to write an accident blackspot report. The
objective of this step is to document the outcome of the accident investigation and provide
details of the proposed treatment proposal. The report is to be submitted for evaluation of the
project and ranking for consideration for inclusion in the Blackspot Program.
The report should include the following:

Location details, including Region, District, road name(s) and locality;

The investigation person or team;

Description of existing conditions, including daily traffic volumes and composition

Photographs of the site;

Details of reported accidents, including TARAS listing;

Outcome of the accident analysis, identifying predominant accident types and


patterns;

Conclusions regarding causal factors, particularly site conditions and/or driver


behavior;

Treatment options considered;

The recommended treatment proposal;

Details of project scope, including identification of land acquisition and resettlement,


and environmental impacts;

A concept plan (may not be required for pavement marking and signage projects);

Preliminary cost estimate.

A typical report format is included as Appendix I.

Step-by-Step Guide
Table 3.6 provides a step-by-step guide to the formulation of candidate projects.

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Accident Blackspot Investigation Handbook

Table 3.6

Step-by-step Guide to the Formulation of Candidate Projects

Step

Explanation

Step 3.1

Identify all possible treatment options that are applicable to the accident
types and patterns identified in Step 2.

Identify
Treatment
Options
Step 3.2
Develop
Preliminary
Treatment
Proposal

Refer to Table 3.4 Guide to Countermeasure Treatments

Develop a preliminary treatment proposal that will effectively target the


predominant accident types and as many of the other accidents as
practicable.
Use Table 3.5 as a guide to the effectiveness of treatment types.
Working knowledge of the project evaluation process is recommended.
Develop optional proposals as necessary.

Step 3.3
Review Site
Constraints
and Modify
Preliminary
Proposal
Step 3.4
Prepare
Concept
Design Plan

Review the site, including another inspection if needed, to ensure


appropriateness of the proposed treatments in the context of the road
environment and road network.
Cross-check the preliminary treatment proposal to confirm that it
addresses the predominant accident types.
Amend the treatment proposal as necessary.
Prepare a concept design which shows:
Existing / proposed property boundaries and buildings;
Existing / proposed curb lines, traffic islands and / or edges of
paved roadway and shoulders;
Proposed lane widths and other critical dimensions;
Existing / proposed traffic signal poles and signage; and
Location of utilities.
For signage and pavement marking proposals, a concept plan may not
be required if a clear description of the scope of works is provided.

Step 3.5
Prepare Cost
Estimate

Prepare a preliminary estimate with costs to be itemized generally as


follows:
Project development & survey;
Land acquisition and resettlement;
Alterations to utilities;
Roadworks;
Remedial environmental works;
Signages and linemarkings;
Street lighting;
Traffic signal installation / alterations;
Contingency; and
Project management.

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Accident Blackspot Investigation Handbook

Step

Explanation

Step 3.6

Prepare a report to document the outcome of the investigation and


provide details of the candidate project.

Write an
Accident
Blackspot
Report

Provide details as set out in the report format in Appendix I.

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Accident Blackspot Investigation Handbook

APPENDICES

APPENDIX A
Typical TARAS Rank report & map of accident locations.

APPENDIX B
Example of TARAS Listing report

APPENDIX C
Example of TARAS Summary Report

APPENDIX D
Sample of a completed Traffic Accident Report (TAR)

APPENDIX E
Chart of Traffic Accident Description (TAD) codes

APPENDIX F
Typical Accident Factor Chart

APPENDIX G
Typical Site Inspection Field Notes format

APPENDIX H
Sample preliminary cost estimate

APPENDIX I
Typical Accident Blackspot Report Format

APPENDIX J
Accident Blackspots Ranking Spreadsheet for Site Data and Project Evaluation

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