Minnesota Department of Transportation

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Traffic Engineering

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Rural Intersection Conflict Warning System (RICWS)

Project description

The goal of the Rural Intersection Conflict Warning System deployment (RICWS) program was to reduce the fatal and serious injury crashes at rural non-signalized intersections. RICWS provides supplemental warning to drivers of other vehicles approaching the intersection. MnDOT has deployed these warning systems statewide at high crash risk locations.
RICWS consists of a combination of a minor road warning and/or major road warning devices. The minor road warning will warn drivers that there are major road vehicles approaching the intersection. The major road warning will warn drivers that there are vehicles on the minor road that are entering the intersection.
The systems are composed of signing, vehicle detection, and dynamic warning beacons. Drivers on the major road will see a static “Entering Traffic” with a “When Flashing” plaque. Drivers on the minor road will see a constantly illuminated blank-out sign message “Traffic Approaching” with a “When Flashing” plaque. In the case of a malfunction or power outage, drivers on the minor road will not be given a message as the blank-out sign will be black/off.
After many years of operations and thorough traffic safety analysis and evaluations, MnDOT has determined that the RICWS systems have had little to no impact at reducing nor preventing crashes where they have been deployed. Due to the ongoing costs and maintenance of these systems, MnDOT has been removing these systems as they reach the end of their life cycle, or due to other maintenance related challenges. MnDOT has no further plans to install more RICWS systems at this time.

Final evaluations about the effectiveness of these systems can be found here:

RICWS evaluation and design investigation

Project documents

Additional links