Based on background research work, several European countries have attempted to address the guardrail problem. An overview of successful national projects was compiled by FEMA in 2005 in “The Road to Success: improving motorcyclists’ safety by improving crash barriers”.
A successful approach to reducing the negative effect of dangerous guardrails implies a more global reflection on the road geometry, environment and equipment. All success stories – some of which are described below – implied a global thinking on how to avoid having to resort to guardrails in the first place. If their use was deemed necessary, they would be included not as stand-alone equipment, but as part of a wider conception of a forgiving road.
Even more importantly, the hallmark of success lies in a close cooperation between researchers, who identify and locate the problem; policy-makers, who give the impulse, funding and legal background to the project; and road operators and equipment manufacturers, who deliver the result . Securing this cooperation, if needed through a detailed agenda laid out by the authorities, is the most effective way to roll out change on the road.