Welcome to the Online Guide to Bridge Railings!


This web utility provides a content management system for bridge railings systems submitted to and reviewed by AASHTO-ARTBA-AGC Task Force 13. It allows for full viewing, submission, management, and reporting services to its users and the general public. The systems shown in the guide have been submitted to the Task Force by States, hardware developers and manufacturers. The review status indicates whether the system has been reviewed by the Task Force. The materials are included here for review and informational purposes only. Click here to view systems that have been reviewed by the Task Force.

An index for the bridge railing guide is shown at upper left. Users may browse a list of all the systems in the guide or search for particular systems based on several pre-defined search criteria. Contact information for people and organizations that have submitted materials are shown in the contacts section. Some useful links and background information are shown in the Links and About sections respectively.

In general, all the bridge rail systems shown in the 1993 AASHTO-ARTBA-AGC Guide to Standardized Barrier Hardware and 2003 FHWA-CALTRANS Bridge Guide are included in this on-line guide along with all the materials from the earlier publications. A link to the appropriate FHWA eligibility letter or memorandum is included in the index listing for each system but users may want to examine the FHWA website for the most current information on a particular system.

While it would be useful to practitioners to have information on the costs of each of the bridge railings in this guide it is not included because there are significant local varations due to regional material and labor costs. A bridge railing that is inexpensive in one region may be significantly more expensive in another depending on the availability material and labor as well as other local conditions. For this reason, cost information has not been provided.

Some materials provided in the guide require third-party software to view the files. Files with the PDF extension require the free Adobe Acrobat. AutoCAD files can be viewed with the free DWG Viewer or the free ModelPress software.

Crash Testing

Since 1993, bridge railings have been crash tested and classified according the guidelines shown in NCHRP Report 350. Prior to 1993 bridge railings were evaluated using a somewhat different AASHTO test criteria. The use of Report 350, however, standardized the testing of all roadside hardware such that the same basic test and evaluation criteria are used for all roadside hardware systems. Report 350 classifies bridge railings, as well as all other roadside hardware, according to six test levels. The test levels are based on a matrix of required crash tests involving different types of vehicles impacting the bridge railings at different speeds and angles. Prior to 1993, bridge rails were tested according to the AASHTO Guide Specification for Bridge Railings, Report 230 or NCHRP Report 239. In 1997 the FHWA issued a memorandum describing equivalences between the earlier crash testing criteria and Report 350. Many of the bridge railing systems in this guide were tested and accepted for use under these earlier test guidelines. Users interested in the FHWA equivalances should check the May 30, 1997 FHWA Memorandum. After 2011, bridge railings are crash tested and evaluated using the AASHTO Manual for Assessing Safety Hardware (MASH). Crash test compliance shown on the system pages does not imply satisfactory performance other than what is specifically shown on the page.


Dimensions in the drawings are given in both inches and millimeters, with the millimeter measurement in brackets. For example, a height of 30 inches (762 millimeters) is labeled as 30 [760]. In general, unit conversions and rounding conform to the recommendations of AASHTO R1-91.

Designator Nomenclature
S - SystemB - Bridge RailingA - Aluminum01 - 99a - z
B - Steel Tube (Box)
C - Concrete
D - Wood
O - Other
T - Thrie-Beam
W - W-Beam

As an example, the SBC04d (TL-4 F Shape) is a System that is a Bridge Rail that is made of Concrete.

Last updated: 06/01/2016 by TOJ