Roadway departure crashes are one of the core emphasis areas in Strategic Highway Safety Plans (SHSP). These crashes, especially on rural roads, lead to a disproportionately higher number of fatalities and serious injuries. The focus of this study is to identify and quantify the factors affecting injury-severity outcomes for single-vehicle roadway departure (SV-RwD) crashes on rural curved segments in Minnesota. The crash data are extracted from the Highway Safety Information System (HSIS) from 2010 to 2014. This study applied a mixed logit with heterogeneity in means and variances approach to model driver-injury severity. The approach accounts for possible unobserved heterogeneity in the data resulting from driver, roadway, traffic, environmental conditions, or any combination of these attributes. This analysis adds value to the growing body of literature because it uncovers some unobserved heterogeneity in the form the attributes specific to driver-injury severities in contrast to the standard mixed logit approach.
The model results indicate that there is a complex interaction of driver characteristics and actions (male drivers, aged below 30-years of age, and unsafe speed), roadway and traffic characteristics (two-lane undivided road, county roadways, and low traffic volume), environmental conditions (adverse weather, cloudy weather, dark conditions, and dry surface conditions), and vehicle characteristics (vehicle type—sport utility vehicle involved in rollover crashes). The results also provide some evidence of the effectiveness of a highway curve safety improvement program implemented in one of the Minnesota Department of Transportation (DOT) districts.