Estimating Safety Effects of Pavement Management Factors Utilizing Bayesian Random Effect Models

Previous studies of pavement management factors that relate to the occurrence of traffic-related crashes are rare. Traditional research has mostly employed summary statistics of bidirectional pavement quality measurements in extended longitudinal road segments over a long time period, which may cause a loss of important information and result in biased parameter estimates. The research presented in this article focuses on crash risk of roadways with overall fair to good pavement quality. Real-time and location-specific data were employed to estimate the effects of pavement management factors on the occurrence of crashes. This research is based on the crash data and corresponding pavement quality data for the Tennessee state route highways from 2004 to 2009. The potential temporal and spatial correlations among observations caused by unobserved factors were considered. Overall 6 models were built accounting for no correlation, temporal correlation only, and both the temporal and spatial correlations. These models included Poisson, negative binomial (NB), one random effect Poisson and negative binomial (OREP, ORENB), and two random effect Poisson and negative binomial (TREP, TRENB) models. The Bayesian method was employed to construct these models. The inference is based on the posterior distribution from the Markov chain Monte Carlo (MCMC) simulation. These models were compared using the deviance information criterion. Analysis of the posterior distribution of parameter coefficients indicates that the pavement management factors indexed by Present Serviceability Index (PSI) and Pavement Distress Index (PDI) had significant impacts on the occurrence of crashes, whereas the variable rutting depth was not significant. Among other factors, lane width, median width, type of terrain, and posted speed limit were significant in affecting crash frequency. The findings of this study indicate that a reduction in pavement roughness would reduce the likelihood of traffic-related crashes. Hence, maintaining a low level of pavement roughness is strongly suggested. In addition, the results suggested that the temporal correlation among observations was significant and that the ORENB model outperformed all other models.


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  • Accession Number: 01502669
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Dec 30 2013 11:05AM