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Doctoral Student’s Paper Places Second in Excellence in Highway Safety Information Systems Data Competition

Alyssa Ryan receiving award plaque at competition

Alyssa Ryan (left)

Doctoral student Alyssa Ryan of the UMass Civil and Environmental Engineering Department has been awarded second place in the 2019 Excellence in Highway Safety Information Systems (HSIS) Data competition for her paper: “Evaluating Crash Type Likelihood at Various Traffic Control Devices: A Multinomial Logistic Regression Approach Using HSIS Data.

The HSIS award was created to introduce future highway safety professionals to HSIS safety data, the process of applying the appropriate research methods to derive recommendations, and the practice of using that data to make decisions. The competition is jointly administered by the Federal Highway Administration and the Institute of Transportation Engineers (ITE).

As Ryan introduced her paper, “In the United States, Crash Modification Factors (CMFs) have been developed to measure the safety effectiveness of a particular treatment or design element. Often, these CMFs are developed to target specific crash types, with the goal of reducing that crash type with a specific treatment.”

However, according to Ryan, no studies were found that analyze the likelihood of a specific crash type occurring at a particular traffic control device on a large scale; therefore, the increased need for specific CMFs to be developed cannot yet be understood.

Further, Ryan explained, certain crash types are often associated with higher severity. For example, rear-end crashes are often less severe than head-on crashes.

“To align with the goal of reducing crashes and reaching zero fatalities,” said Ryan, “this study provides insight into the relationship between various crash types and traffic control devices on a large scale for all roadway types. To accomplish this, a multinomial logistic regression model and relative risk ratios were utilized in the analysis of HSIS data from the states of North Carolina and Ohio.”

Ryan said that the results of this analysis allow for a stronger understanding of the relationships between crash types, and in relation, crash severity, that occur at specific traffic control devices.

ITE is an international membership association of transportation professionals who work to improve safety and mobility for all transportation system users and help build smart and livable communities. Founded in 1930, ITE is a community of transportation professionals including transportation engineers, transportation planners, consultants, educators, technologists, and researchers. (August 2019)