Barrier Crash Testing

Contact Information

Oliver P. Harrison
Research Engineer
Barrier Crash Testing
(210) 522-2577

image of large-scale pendulum

SwRI conducts both large-scale pendulum (shown) and full-scale vehicle impact tests  using equipment and procedures based on FHWA test requirements.

image of SwRI conducting a crash test of roadside safety devices

Crash testing of roadside safety devices

image of a vehicle-mounted crash cushion

Testing of a vehicle-mounted crash cushion

image of SwRI Crash Test Facility

SwRI Crash Test Facility

Related Brochure

Image: Vehicle Barrier Testing Flyer

Vehicle crash testing of permanent and temporary roadside safety devices at Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) includes:

  • Longitudinal barriers
  • Terminals
  • Crash cushions
  • Support structures
  • Work zone attenuation
  • Channelizers

Our clients range from manufacturers to end-users of roadway safety devices (such as crash cushions, median barriers, and bridge railings) and terrorist barriers.

Many of the devices tested by SwRI can be seen on our nation's and foreign nation's highways and are protecting our military bases and embassies. Engineers and scientists have patented innovative designs and have authored several standards used by highway research engineers.

NCHRP Report 350 & AASHTO MASH Testing

To study the dynamic behavior of permanent and temporary roadside safety devices, SwRI conducts both large-scale pendulum and full-scale vehicle impact tests, using SwRI equipment and procedures based on FHWA test requirements. NCHRP Report 350 and AASHTO MASH specifications, as adopted by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), includes revised standards for full-scale crash testing of roadside safety devices, many of which must be tested for compliance with today's:

  • Lightweight passenger vehicles
  • Pickups
  • Heavy single-unit trucks
  • Minivans
  • Sport utility vehicles
  • Lightweight passenger sedans

SwRI is ISO 17025 accredited and qualified by FHWA to perform NCHRP Report 350 and AASHTO MASH tests.

Terrorist Barrier Testing

The current articulated barriers protecting our nation's Capitol were evaluated by SwRI using 15,000-lb. trucks with a 50-mph test speed. This criterion was developed at SwRI for the U.S. State Department in the mid 1980s in response to the bombings of the U.S. Army Barracks in Beirut, Lebanon. Those standards evolved into the current test standard, ASTM F 2656-07, used by the U.S. State Department to evaluate anti-terrorist barriers. The U.S. State Department recognizes SwRI as an organization qualified to perform the barrier test, according to their certification standards.

Specialized Testing

Utilizing these facilities, equipment, and experienced staff members, SwRI also performs a variety of specialized crash and impact tests. These tests have included the crash survivability of a small aircraft wing and fuel tank structure, avionic systems, battery systems for electric vehicles, and occupant protection systems. SwRI regularly works with its clients to develop unique tests to meet their specific needs.

Related Terminology

barrier crash testing  •  roadside safety devices  •  crash cushions  •  median barriers  •  bridge railings  •  roadway safety devices  •  terrorist barriers  •  highway research  •  Report 350 testing  •  Federal Highway Administration  •  vehicle impact tests  •  large-scale pendulum impact tests  •  small-scale pendulum impact tests  •  full-scale crash testing  •  Certification Standard SD STD-02.01

Benefiting government, industry and the public through innovative science and technology
Southwest Research Institute® (SwRI®), headquartered in San Antonio, Texas, is a multidisciplinary, independent, nonprofit, applied engineering and physical sciences research and development organization with 9 technical divisions.