Improving freeway segment crash prediction models by including disaggregate speed data from different sources

Traditional traffic safety analyses use highly aggregated data, typically annual average daily traffic (AADT) and annual crash counts. This approach neglects the time-varying nature of critical factors such as traffic speed, volume, and density, and their effects on traffic safety. This paper evaluated the relationship between crashes and quality of flow at different levels of temporal aggregation using continuous count station data and probe data from 4 lane rural freeway and 6 lane urban freeway segments in Virginia. The performance of crash prediction models using traffic and geometric information at 15-minute, hourly, and annual aggregation intervals were contrasted. This study also assessed whether inclusion of speed data improved model performance and examined the effects of using speeds from physical sensors versus speed estimates from private-sector probe speed data. The results showed that using average hourly volume along with average speed and selected geometric variables improved predictions compared to annual models that did not use speed information. When comparing an AADT-based model to an average hourly volume model for total crashes, the mean absolute prediction error improved by 11% for rural models and 20% for urban models. This result was based on volume and speed data from continuous count stations. When private sector probe speed data was used, the rural model performance improved by 10% and urban models by 20%. This trend was consistent for all crash types irrespective of level of injury or number of vehicles involved. Even though models using private sector data performed slightly worse than the ones based on continuous count data, they were still far better than AADT based models. These results indicate that probe based data can be used in developing crash models without harming prediction capability.


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  • Accession Number: 01718095
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Sep 25 2019 1:50PM