Road safety effects of porous asphalt: a systematic review of evaluation studies

by Rune Elvik and Poul Greibe


Accident Analysis and Prevention

This paper presents a systematic review of studies that have evaluated the effects on road safety of porous asphalt. Porous asphalt is widely used on motorways in Europe, mainly in order to reduce traffic noise and increase road capacity. A meta-analysis was made of six studies, containing a total of eighteen estimates of the effect of porous asphalt on accident rates. No clear effect on road safety of porous asphalt was found. All summary estimates of effect indicated very small changes in accident rates and very few were statistically significant at conventional levels. Studies that have evaluated the effects of porous asphalt on nine different risk factors associated with accident occurrence were also reviewed. It was found that four of the risk factors were favourably influenced by porous asphalt, three were adversely influenced, and two were not influenced by porous asphalt. The net impact of these changes in risk factors on accident occurrence cannot be predicted. On the whole, the research that has been reported so far regarding road safety effects of porous asphalt is inconclusive. The studies are not of high quality and the findings are inconsistent.

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