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Inclusion of Speed and Weather Measures in Safety Performance Functions for Rural Roadways

Publication Information

Publication External Link:

The research on relationships among vehicle operating speed, roadway design elements, weather, and traffic volume on crash outcomes will greatly benefit the road safety profession in general. If these relationships are well understood and characterized, existing techniques and countermeasures for reducing crash frequencies and crash severities could potentially improve, and the opportunity for new methodologies addressing and anticipating crash occurrence would naturally ensue. This study examines the prevailing operating speeds on a large scale and determines how traffic speeds and different speed measures interact with roadway characteristics and weather condition to influence the likelihood of crashes.

This study used three datasets from Washington and Ohio: 1) Highway Safety Information System (HSIS), 2) the National Performance Management Research Dataset (NPMRDS), and 3) National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) weather data. State-based conflated databases were developed using the linear conflation of HSIS and NPMRDS. The results show that certain speed measures were found to be beneficial in quantifying safety risk. Annual-level crash prediction models show that increased variability in hourly operating speed within a day and an increase in monthly operating speeds within a year are both associated with a higher number of crashes. Safety practitioners can benefit from the current study in addressing the issue of speed and weather in crash outcomes.



Das, S., Geedipally, S.R., & Fitzpatrick, K. (2021). Inclusion of speed and weather measures in safety performance functions for rural roadways. IATSS Research, 45(1), 2021, pp 60-69.

Publishing Date:
April 2021
FHWA Program(s):
AMRP Program(s):
Safety Data and Analysis
FHWA Activities:
Highway Safety Information System
Subject Area:
Safety and Human Factors