Rural Intersection conflict warning system
The goal of the Rural Intersection Conflict Warning System is to reduce fatal and serious injury crashes at non-signalized intersections. Minnesota Crash Facts shows that fatal crashes tend to occur on roads in rural areas that permit high speeds and do not have interstate-type safety designs. In 2011, 67 percent of all fatal crashes occurred in areas with populations of less than 5,000 people.
A 1994 National Highway Traffic Safety Administration study found that in crashes at rural STOP controlled intersections, 62 percent stopped and looked, but did not see the other vehicle 20 percent misjudged the gap of the approaching vehicle 14 percent had an obstructed view of the other vehicle four percent of crashes were due to ice-covered roads.
RICWS systems use a combination of static signing, detection and dynamic elements, to provide drivers with a dynamic warning of other vehicles approaching the intersection. The signs include sensors and flashing lights that are expected to reduce fatal crashes and injuries at higher-risk intersections.
Research continues on RICWS systems
The RICWS is part of a MnDOT research implementation project designed to improve safety at non-signalized intersections. Research has shown that RICWSs reduce serious injuries and fatalities 30 percent to 80 percent.
Hwy 53 safety improvements
Three advance warning signs have been installed on Hwy 53 near Hat Trick Avenue. These signs and amber flashing lights warn approaching drivers of the intersection and possible cross-traffic.
Two of the signs were installed in March 2013. They feature a simplified intersection diagram and flashing lights. These signs were installed in each direction along Hwy 53 in advance of the Hat Trick Avenue intersection.
The other sign was installed in early-April, 2013 and reads “YOUR SPEED IS …”. This sign was placed in the northbound direction to alert drivers of their speed as they enter the reduced speed zone near the south edge of Eveleth.
MnDOT plans to install an RICWS in fall 2014. This intelligent transportation system device will provide real-time indication that traffic is approaching the intersection. This system will provide cross-traffic an indication when gaps in the through-traffic are large enough to proceed safely through the intersection.
There have been three fatal crashes at the Hwy 53/Hat Trick Avenue intersection in the past 10 years. The decision to install this system was driven by the local desire to improve safety at this intersection.
MnDOT has been meeting with the Eveleth City Council and staff, the Minnesota State Patrol, business owners and elected government officials to discuss alternatives that will improve safety at the Hat Trick Avenue intersection.
- There are no traffic impacts at this time.
MnDOT is committed to assist with future community planning to provide safe transportation options along the Hwy 53 corridor in Eveleth for highway users, pedestrians and trail users.
Additional RICWS installations
Two additional intersection conflict warning systems were installed in Northeastern Minnesota in 2013 at the following locations:
- Hwy 169 and County Road 77 near Tower
- Hwy 2 and Canosia Road in Proctor
Another RICWS will be installed in 2014 at:
- Hwy 169 and County Road 21 west of Embarrass
Click here for more information about RICWSs and other traffic engineering topics.