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MASH scoping study discussed during AASHTO Virtual Spring Meeting 2021

During AASHTO's 2021 Virtual Spring Meeting on Monday, the Council on Highways and Streets (CHS) gathered to provide updates from various stakeholders. The discussion included an update on the Manual for Assessing Safety Hardware (MASH) scoping study to determine the feasibility and potential next steps to convert MASH into a set of performance specifications.

Joyce Taylor from the Maine Department of Transportation (MaineDOT), who serves as design vice chair with AASHTO, gave an update on the MASH scoping study conducted by Texas A&M Transportation Institute (TTI). She discussed the challenges related to current testing procedures and the gray areas within the existing manual that lead to a lack of consistency, as testing may be conducted differently by facilities.

The scoping study, conducted by TTI and sponsored by AASHTO, was completed in April. The purpose of the study was to investigate the time, cost and steps needed to convert MASH into a set of performance specifications. As a result, AASHTO is considering proceeding with the conversion of the document. The study accomplished the following tasks:

  • Revision of existing specs/test methods and recommendation of an appropriate format.
  • Tasks required to convert MASH.
  • Level of effort and timelines required for the conversion.
  • Draft final report and research problem statements for potential next steps.

 

The desired outcomes from the conversion of MASH into a set of performance specifications are to:

  • Reduce subjectivity in testing and provide clearly defined crash testing criteria
  • Revise format and organization of the document
  • Simplify instructions and increase the level of certainty in crash testing (to help manufacturers know what tests to run).

 

AASHTO's next steps are:

  • Review by AASHTO committees (TCRS, Design, Bridges, Traffic Engineering)
  • Input from industry cross section (ATSSA, Task Force 13, other industry representatives, academia, crash test facilities)

 

AASHTO anticipates providing outreach and communication over the next several months with the hopes of providing an update during AASHTO's fall meeting.

ATSSA Director of Innovation & Technical Services Eric Perry authored this post.

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