Relating crash frequency and severity: Evaluating the effectiveness of shoulder rumble strips on reducing fatal and major injury crashes

Kun Feng Wu, Eric T. Donnell, Jonathan Aguero-Valverde

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

18 Scopus citations

Abstract

To approach the goal of "Toward Zero Deaths," there is a need to develop an analysis paradigm to better understand the effects of a countermeasure on reducing the number of severe crashes. One of the goals in traffic safety research is to search for an effective treatment to reduce fatal and major injury crashes, referred to as severe crashes. To achieve this goal, the selection of promising countermeasures is of utmost importance, and relies on the effectiveness of candidate countermeasures in reducing severe crashes. Although it is important to precisely evaluate the effectiveness of candidate countermeasures in reducing the number of severe crashes at a site, the current state-of-the-practice often leads to biased estimates. While there have been a few advanced statistical models developed to mitigate the problem in practice, these models are computationally difficult to estimate because severe crashes are dispersed spatially and temporally, and cannot be integrated into the Highway Safety Manual framework, which develops a series of safety performance functions and crash modification factors to predict the number of crashes. Crash severity outcomes are generally integrated into the Highway Safety Manual using deterministic distributions rather than statistical models. Accounting for the variability in crash severity as a function geometric design, traffic flow, and other roadway and roadside features is afforded by estimating statistical models. Therefore, there is a need to develop a new analysis paradigm to resolve the limitations in the current Highway Safety Manual methods. We propose an approach which decomposes the severe crash frequency into a function of the change in the total number of crashes and the probability of a crash becoming a severe crash before and after a countermeasure is implemented. We tested this approach by evaluating the effectiveness of shoulder rumble strips on reducing the number of severe crashes. A total of 310 segments that have had shoulder rumble strips installed during 2002-2009 are included in the analysis. It was found that shoulder rumble strips reduce the total number of crashes, but have no statistically significant effect on reducing the probability of a severe crash outcome.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)86-95
Number of pages10
JournalAccident Analysis and Prevention
Volume67
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 2014

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Human Factors and Ergonomics
  • Safety, Risk, Reliability and Quality
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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