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Safety impacts of signal-warning flashers and speed control at high-speed signalized intersections
Accident Analysis & Prevention (2013)
  • Zifeng Wu, University of Nebraska-Lincoln
  • Anuj Sharma, University of Nebraska-Lincoln
  • Fred L. Mannering, Purdue University
  • Shefang Wang, University of Nebraska-Lincoln
Abstract
For many years, to reduce the crash frequency and severity at high-speed signalized intersections, warning flashers have been used to alert drivers of potential traffic-signal changes. Recently, more aggressive countermeasures at such intersections include a speed-limit reduction in addition to warning flashers. While such speed-control strategies have the potential to further improve the crash-mitigation effectiveness of warning flashers, a rigorous statistical analysis of crash data from such intersections has not been undertaken to date. This paper uses 10-year crash data from 28 intersections in Nebraska (all with intersection approaches having signal-warning flashers; some with no speed-limit reduction, and the others with either 5 mi/h or 10 mi/h reduction in speed limit) to estimate a random parameters negative binomial model of crash frequency and a nested logit model of crash-injury severity. The estimation findings show that, while a wide variety of factors significantly influence the frequency and severity of crashes, the effect of the 5 mi/h speed-limit reduction is ambiguous—decreasing the frequency of crashes on some intersection approaches and increasing it on others, and decreasing some crash-injury severities and increasing others. In contrast, the 10 mi/h reduction in speed limit unambiguously decreased both the frequency and injury-severity of crashes. It is speculated that, in the presence of potentially heterogeneous driver responses to decreased speed limits, the smaller distances covered during reaction time at lower speeds (allowing a higher likelihood of crash avoidance) and the reduced energy of crashes associated with lower speed limits are not necessarily sufficient to unambiguously decrease the frequency and severity of crashes when the speed-limit reduction is just 5 mi/h. However, they are sufficient to unambiguously decrease the frequency and severity of crashes when the speed-limit reduction is 10 mi/h. Based on this research, speed-limit reductions in conjunction with signal-warning flashers appear to be an effective safety countermeasure, but only clearly so if the speed-limit reduction is at least 10 mi/h.
Keywords
  • Nebraska Transportation Center,
  • speed limit reduction,
  • crash frequency,
  • crash severity,
  • nested logit model,
  • random parameter negative binomial model,
  • high-speed signalized intersection,
  • signal-warning flashers
Disciplines
Publication Date
May, 2013
Citation Information
Zifeng Wu, Anuj Sharma, Fred L. Mannering and Shefang Wang. "Safety impacts of signal-warning flashers and speed control at high-speed signalized intersections" Accident Analysis & Prevention Vol. 54 Iss. May (2013)
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/anuj_sharma1/33/