MnDOT study shows Reduced Conflict Intersections are reducing deaths, injuries
ST. PAUL, Minn. – A new safety study by the Minnesota Department of Transportation shows that the state’s Reduced Conflict Intersections are saving lives.
RCIs are intersections on multi-lane highways. They allow drivers to turn right from the smaller, local roadway onto the higher speed road and make a u-turn at a nearby opening in the median. They prohibit drivers from making left turns onto the highway.
Historically, these intersections, without the RCI design, have more severe right-angle crashes than most other intersections.
The study shows that eight RCIs studied in Minnesota had a 100 percent reduction of fatal and serious injury right-angle crashes, a 77 percent reduction of all severity right-angle crashes and a 50 percent reduction of injury crashes. The state has four other RCIs, not included in the study, and those intersections have not had a serious injury nor fatality since construction.
“RCIs prevents drivers on the minor road from exposing themselves to the most common type of severe crash, the right-angle crash,” said Derek Leuer, assistant state traffic safety engineer. “Drivers complete a series of driving maneuvers that reduce their probability of a severe crash and the risk of a death or serious injury.”
Leuer said the findings in the study are consistent with other studies done throughout the U.S.
“The reduced conflict intersection is gaining in public acceptance and is the more widely applied option for intersections at four-lane divided highways,” he said. “When crashes do occur, the injury level is typically lower than at standard intersections.”
MnDOT has plans to build at least 20 more RCIs in the next five years. The first one in the state was built in 2010 in Willmar.
“Reduced conflict intersections have firmly shown to reduce deaths, injuries and crashes. That’s why we want to keep building them,” he said. “The other benefits are that they are faster to build and cost less than a typical interchange.”
The study is online at www.mndot.gov/roadwork/rci/docs/trafficsafetyatrcistudy.pdf. For more information on RCIs, go to http://www.mndot.gov/roadwork/rci/.