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Mineta Transportation Institute report offers crash risk assessment models

The Mineta Transportation Institute (MTI) has released its newest research report, ‘Proactive Assessment of Accident Risk to Improve Safety on a System of Freeways’, which describes the development and evaluation of real-time crash risk-assessment models based on four California freeway corridors: US Route 101 northbound (NB) and southbound (SB) and Interstate 880 NB and SB. The resulting models can be applied to developing and testing variable speed limits (VSLs) and ramp-metering strategies that proactively attempt to reduce crash risk. The authors, Anurag Pande, Cornelius Nuworsoo and Cameron Shew, have proposed a real-time implementation framework for instant crash risk assessment, but they recommend further study about issuing warnings and drivers’ subsequent reactions. The models could also be applied for developing and testing VSL and ramp metering strategies that proactively attempt to reduce crash risk.

In recent years, attention has shifted from reactive (incident detection) to proactive (real-time crash risk assessment) traffic strategies to address freeway traffic safety. Reliable models that can use real-time loop-detector information and distinguish normal flow conditions from crash-prone conditions are keys to implementing crash-preventive measures. The research area has gained increased attention since vehicle detector stations (VDS) on freeways have been able to gather real-time traffic data, and the ability to collect, archive, and analyze these data has grown. The report advances the current body of knowledge by exploring whether driver characteristics and behavior in close geographic proximity are similar enough to accurately apply the estimated classification models from one roadway segment to another. Dr Pande commented, “The research found that the predictive model derived from one freeway can be readily applied to other freeways, although the classification performance decreases. The models that transfer best to other roadways are those that use the least number of vehicle detection stations, that is; those that use one upstream or downstream station, rather than two or three.”

May 4, 2012

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