Rural Intersection Safety Handbook


The Rural Intersection Safety Handbook gives practical guidance to spot safety problems at rural intersections. It also helps to find and put in place practical solutions for each case.

Intersections are among the most hazardous features of the road. Though they may seem like simple points along the roadway, they see an undue percentage of collisions, property damage and deaths. Between 1995 and 1999, intersection crashes accounted for nearly:

  • 22 percent of fatalities on rural roads
  • 28 percent of serious injuries.

Transport Canada has established a road safety vision for Canada. By 2010 it intends that Canada will meet road safety targets that make our roads the safest in the world. Launched in 1996 and renewed in 2000, this Road Safety Vision is supported by all levels of government and key stakeholders.

There are many lines of attack to improving road safety in Canada. This document is one of the key tools that Transport Canada has funded to help practitioners address the problem in rural districts. This handbook will not solve the whole challenge of improving rural highway safety. It will also not directly address the many problems related to driver behaviour. However, the kinds of improvements contained in the handbook can clearly save lives.

The purpose of this handbook is to give practitioners the tools to make intersections safer. It is presented in two parts.

The introduction provides:

  • helpful background to the problem
  • an approach to evaluating intersection safety solutions
  • statistics that practitioners can use to make the case for new expenditures or to highlight the need to decision-makers
  • guidance on how to use the handbook.

The central feature of the handbook is a cost effectiveness assessment for each road safety solution it lists. It is designed to quickly aid the practitioner in selecting appropriate measures for their needs. There is also a discussion on risk management tailored to the problem of very low-volume rural roads.

The second part of the handbook is a series of Situation Sheets. They are designed to quickly guide the practitioner in identifying:

  • the type of problem being experienced
  • the likely causes of that problem and;
  • possible solutions.

Virtually all of the 23 Situation Sheets are formatted the same. They contain:

  • Background discussion
  • Problem statements
  • Solutions
  • Effectiveness table and;
  • Additional information including cross references and sources of further technical guidance.

A brief summary of each topic is also provided. Each sheet is illustrated by photographs and/or drawings to show or expand concepts within the text. For ease of navigation, the Situation Sheets are categorized into five sections:

  • Intersection Layout
  • Visibility
  • Signs, Signals and Pavement Markings
  • Rail crossings and;
  • Usability.

The categories and the topics covered were chosen in consultation with various provincial agencies across Canada. This ensures that the information presented truly reflects real-world problems. The handbook concludes (in Appendix A) with an Intersection Safety checklist. This checklist can be used as a navigation tool to help find the right section for advice.



Alternative Formats Available



Rural Intersection Safety Handbook (PDF Format - 28 MB.)

To view PDF documents you must use Adobe® Acrobat Reader. Visit the Adobe site to download the latest, free version.

If you need an alternative format or for more information, please contact us by e-mail or call toll free 1-800-333-0371 (Ottawa area (613) 998-8616).