Coordination and Safety Procedures for Mail Delivery on Roadways without ShouldersAuthor/Presenter: Picha, D.; Ullman, B.R.
The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) maintains approximately 7,500 centerline miles of rural, two-lane state highways without shoulders. With limited or no allowance for passing maneuvers or emergency refuge, these types of highways have historically experienced significantly higher crash rates as compared to other types of state highways. This safety concern is not lost on the United States Postal Service (USPS), whose employees maintain a high presence on a regular basis in rural areas for mail delivery. The exposure of their employees in slow-moving delivery vehicles is a concern, especially when increased residential and commercial development in rural highways generates higher traffic volumes, more turning movements, and more rural mail stops. An equally important issue is the fact that customer service for rural mail delivery is as much a priority for USPS as city delivery. Construction and maintenance activities along rural, two-lane highways without shoulders can not only impact delays for motorists, but can impair USPS service to its rural customers. It is important for both TxDOT and USPS to coordinate work activities so as to not significantly sacrifice USPS customer service, especially for their rural customers. This project will identify means of improving safety for rural letter carriers by considering such factors as policy and training issues, mailbox placement, roadway geometry, traffic control devices, and delivery vehicle operations and safety devices. Furthermore, the researchers will identify a methodology in which TxDOT can effectively coordinate work activities with USPS so as to continue to allow efficient customer service during construction and maintenance activities in rural areas.