This Is AuburnElectronic Theses and Dissertations

Guidance to Support Vulnerable Road Users in the State of Alabama




Gajkowski, Travis

Type of Degree

Master's Thesis


Civil Engineering


Over the past decade, communities across Alabama and the United States experienced significant increases in multi-modal traffic. While this growth has been shown to promote sustainable and livable communities, reduce traffic congestion, foster healthy environments, and boost local economies, there are still meaningful concerns about maintaining roadway safety for all users. Of particular interest are vulnerable road users (VRUs), defined by FHWA as “road users who are most at risk for serious injury or death when they are involved in a motor-vehicle related collision”. This thesis provides guidance for improving Alabama state highways to support the safe travel of vulnerable road users. While the guidance presented herein is focused on Alabama and its specific needs, the recommendations were derived based on a synthesis of all the existing federal, state, and major city VRU documentation. This thesis provides information on: (a) Understanding VRU Considerations, (b) Trends in Alabama VRU Safety, (c) Models of Alabama Highway Factors Influencing VRU Safety, (d) Guidance on Selecting VRU Countermeasures, and (e) VRU Countermeasure Characteristics. This thesis provides guidance on pedestrians, bicyclists, motorcyclists and scooter users, younger drivers, older drivers, farm equipment, golf carts, and transport-service animals. Additionally, this thesis recognizes that guidance should vary based on the highway environment, so countermeasure suggestions are tailored based on urban/suburban/rural communities, roadway type, posted speeds, traffic volumes, and VRU volumes.