“As the commitment to improve highway safety emerged in the late 1960s and the philosophy of safer roadsides and clear zones took hold nationally there were maintenance issues that challenged the highway engineer to find a practical solution. Prominent among these issues were (a) tire–pavement available friction, (b) influence of potholes and road surface roughness, (c) water accumulations, and (d) influence of pavement edge drop-offs.
These issues were important because these conditions can never be completely eliminated in all roadways all the time. Thus it was important to be able to prioritize treatment of these conditions so that with limited funds the highest influence on safety could be achieved. This need was addressed by the Transportation Research Board (TRB) Surface Properties–Vehicle Interaction (AFD90) Committee. This committee set up a task group on Roadway Surface Discontinuities and Safety. That group was active from 1980 until the publication of TRB’s first state of the art report in 1983. That report, “The Influence of Roadway Surface Discontinuities on Safety,” was the culmination of the task group’s work.
In subsequent years many of the members of the original task group remained active in the various areas of relevant study. In so doing, they were acutely aware that by 2003 TRB’s first state of the art report no longer reflected the state of the art and that revision was needed in areas where new information obtained through both research and experience had become available.
The TRB Surface Properties–Vehicle Interaction (AFD90) Committee set up a new task group to update the 1983 State of the Art Report 1 (SOAR 1) in 2003. That new group is composed of members of the original task group plus others enlisted to provide expertise in various areas.
Members of the new task group have rewritten sections of SOAR 1 (1983), retaining that information still viable and changing and adding new information. The result is this report.”