Safety Evaluation of Statewide Off-Highway Vehicle Use in Alaska
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Standard measures of risk and conflict, design guidelines, and informed policies and regulations for off-highway vehicle users (e.g., all-terrain vehicles and snow machines) near and on the traveled way are not well established from a rural safety perspective. The State of Alaska currently has a Department policy to not prohibit their travel within the off-pavement area, but it does not currently design for or address crossings or other conflicts when these users approach roads and other publicly traveled ways. There is a need for statewide assessment of conflicts between these users and traditional roadway users. A recent all terrain vehicle (ATV)-related fatality in Akiachak, discussions on safety concerns surrounding ATV/off highway vehicle (OHV) use and policies in Wasilla, Bethel, and Kotzebue, and requests for AKDOT&PF to address conflicts in rural Native Alaska communities off the main road network make this very timely research. This research presents a statewide review of the data and types of conflicts occurring on highways, a compilation of borough and city/town OHV policies, and the results of a discourse analysis of nationwide news articles on OHV issues. Findings build on previous work related to mixed-use safety and provide greater insight on special user groups and modes to address safety concerns and the transportation needs of rural and small-urban areas of Alaska.