Vehicle on Shoulder and Crash — Correlation or Causation?

This study sought to evaluate the relationships between vehicles on shoulder, congestion, and crashes. Three pertinent datasets on interstates were obtained and then integrated using a spatiotemporal approach. The analysis showed that about 36% of the crashes had vehicle on shoulder present in their vicinity, defined as 0.25 miles upstream and downstream of a crash site and 30 minutes before crash occurrence. The percentage increased considerably as spatial/temporal window expanded. In addition, congestion was found to be associated with about 25% of the crashes. The presence of both vehicle on shoulder and congestion was found for 11.7% of the crashes, signifying a high correlation between them and crashes. Based on crash narrative review, 1.8% of all crashes directly involved vehicles on shoulder and 23% of the crashes cited congestion as a contributor. However, there’s little indication in the crash narratives on how vehicles on shoulder contributed to crashes, beyond their direct involvement, or how they contributed to congestion which may lead to crashes. Only 6 out of the 512 crashes flagged for review through the keyword search process specified a vehicle on shoulder as a contributor to congestion and subsequent crashes. While a small fraction of crashes were attributed to vehicles on shoulder, these crashes tended to be more severe than average interstate crashes.

  • Record URL:
  • Corporate Authors:

    University of Kentucky, Lexington

    Kentucky Transportation Center
    College of Engineering, 176 Raymond Building
    Lexington, KY  United States  40506-0281

    Kentucky Transportation Cabinet

    Frankfort, KY  United States  40622

    Federal Highway Administration

    1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
    Washington, DC  United States  20590
  • Authors:
    • Chen, Mei
    • Zhang, Xu
    • Blandford, Benjamin
    • Boasiako, Eugene Antwi
  • Publication Date: 2020-7


  • English

Media Info

  • Media Type: Digital/other
  • Features: Figures; Maps; References; Tables;
  • Pagination: 32p

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01751637
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Report/Paper Numbers: KTC-20-25/SPR20-598-1F
  • Contract Numbers: SPR 20-598
  • Created Date: Aug 25 2020 11:02AM