Investigating the Relationship between Freeway Rear-end Crash Rates and Macroscopically Modelled Reaction Time

04/23/2020 ∙ by Ishtiak Ahmed, et al. ∙ 0

This study explores the hypothesis that an analytically derived estimate of the required driver reaction time for asymptotic stability, based on the macroscopic Gazis, Herman, and Rothery (GHR) model, can serve as an effective indicator of the impact of traffic oscillations on rear-end crashes. If separate GHR models are fit discontinuously for the uncongested and congested regimes, the local drop in required reaction time between the two regimes can also be estimated. This study evaluates the relationship between freeway rear-end crash rates and this drop in driver reaction time. Traffic data from 28 sensors collected over one year were used to calibrate the two-regime GHR model. Rear-end crash rates for the segments surrounding the sensor locations are estimated using archived crash data over four years. The rear-end crash rates exhibited a strong positive correlation with the reaction time drop at the density-breakpoint of the congested regime. A linear form model provided the best fit in terms of R-square, standard error, and homoscedasticity. These results motivate follow-on research to incorporate macroscopically derived reaction time in road-safety planning. More generally, the study demonstrates a useful application of a discontinuous macroscopic traffic model.

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