Large-radius curved guardrail installations for intersecting roadways

Coty S. Stolle, Robert W. Bielenberg, John D. Reid, Erik Emerson, Ronald K. Faller

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Short-radius guardrail systems were developed to protect motorists from hazards at intersecting roadways. For some intersecting roadway locations, the use of a curved system with radii larger than 10 m is required. Nonlinear finite element simulation, using LS-DYNA, was performed to investigate large-radius, curved guardrail systems with various heights. A calibrated finite element simulation model of a short-radius guardrail system was modified to accommodate 7.3-, 14.6-, and 21.8-m radii, and with top rail heights of 686-, 737-, and 787-mm. Impacts were simulated using a 2,000-kg pickup truck impacting at 72 km/h and 25 degrees relative to the roadway. The system performance was considered acceptable if the vehicle was captured with no over-ride (vaulting), under-ride, or end anchorage failure. Impacts with every 686-mm tall systems resulted in vaulting and over-ride in at least one impact location. Vaulting was reduced by adding blockouts to the posts, which maintained rail height as posts deflected. Guardrail top mounting heights were increased to 737 and 787 mm, and the systems captured or redirected the 2,000-kg pickup truck with no vaulting or over-ride. Further investigation including full-scale crash testing is recommended before seeking acceptance according to MASH.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)261-286
Number of pages26
JournalJournal of Transportation Safety and Security
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 4 2019


  • computer simulation
  • intersecting roadways
  • roadside safety
  • short-radius guardrail

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Transportation
  • Safety Research


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