Understanding crash mechanism on urban expressways using high-resolution traffic data

Urban expressways play a vital role in the modern mega cities by serving peak hour traffic alongside reducing travel time for moderate to long distance intra-city trips. Thus, ensuring safety on these roads holds high priority. Little knowledge has been acquired to date regarding crash mechanism on these roads. This study uses high-resolution traffic data collected from the detectors to identify factors influencing crash. It also identifies traffic patterns associated with different types of crashes and explains crash phenomena thereby. Unlike most of the previous studies on conventional expressways, the research separately investigates the basic freeway segments (BFS) and the ramp areas. The study employs random multinomial logit, a random forest of logit models, to rank the variables; expectation maximization clustering algorithm to identify crash prone traffic patterns and classification and regression trees to explain crash phenomena. As accentuated by the study outcome, crash mechanism is not generic throughout the expressway and it varies from the BFS to the ramp vicinities. The level of congestion and speed difference between upstream and downstream traffic best explains crashes and their types for the BFS, whereas, the ramp flow has the highest influence in determining the types of crashes within the ramp vicinities. The paper also discusses about the applicability of different countermeasures, such as, variable speed limits, temporary restriction on lane changing, posting warnings, etc., to attenuate different patterns of hazardous traffic conditions. The study outcome can be utilized in designing location and traffic condition specific proactive road safety management systems for urban expressways.


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  • Accession Number: 01485337
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Jun 18 2013 5:07PM