Skip to main content
European Commission logo

Improving Roadside Design to Forgive Human Errors

European Union
Complete with results
Geo-spatial type
Project Acronym
STRIA Roadmaps
Infrastructure (INF)
Transport mode
Road icon
Transport policies
Transport sectors
Passenger transport,
Freight transport


Background & Policy context

Each year 43000 persons are fatally injured in Europe due to road accidents. The RISER Project has shown that even though 10% of the total accidents are single vehicle accidents (typically run-off-road (ROR) accidents) the rate of these events increase to 45% when only fatal accidents are considered.

One of the key issues of this dramatic increase in the ROR fatality rates is to be found in the design of the roadsides that often are “unforgiving”. A number of different studies have been conducted in the recent years and design standard developed for improving roadside design but still there is a need for:

  • A practical and uniform guideline that allows the road designer to improve the forgivingness of the roadside;
  • A practical tool for assessing (in a quantitative manner) the effectiveness of applying a given roadside treatment.

The aim of the IRDES project is to produce these two outputs with specific reference to a well identified set of roadside features.

For the definition of the design guidelines existing design guidelines, manuals and standards will be analysed to reach a single and practical set of recommendations for each feature. A European Survey will also be performed among the National Road Administrations to identify the treatments used to improve roadside design and their estimated effectiveness.

For the evaluation of the effectiveness of different treatments existing literature will be combined with before/after studies and application of risk assessment models already available in the Partners Research Teams.


The project is based on the following work plan:

WP0: Coordination and Management

WP1: Collection and harmonisation of studies and standards on road design

WP2: Assessment of Roadside Intervention Effectiveness

WP3: Production of a Roadside Design Guide

WP4: Pilot Project

WP5: Organisation of Workshop and Round Tables


Parent Programmes
Type of funding
Public (EU)
Other Programme


In the recent years several projects have been conducted to produce guidelines to design forgiving roadsides (both in Europe and in the USA) and several national standards have been produced but different approaches are proposed. The final results of Trans-National Research Projects, aimed at identifying harmonised solutions, are often extremely scientific but not practical and result in a lack of applicability

Based on the results of WP1 and WP2, IRDES produced a practical guideline that could be applied in practice in safety design projects. The different proposed interventions are linked to the potential effectiveness defined in WP2 and in the literature in order to allow the user to perform cost-effectiveness evaluation before planning a given treatment.

The main roadside features considered were barrier terminals, forgiving support structures for road equipment, shoulder rumble strips, and shoulder width.


Lead Organisation
EU Contribution
Partner Organisations
EU Contribution


Contribute! Submit your project

Do you wish to submit a project or a programme? Head over to the Contribute page, login and follow the process!