Exploration of Crash Severity and Location in Work Zone-Related Crashes in Alabama
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Work zones are necessary for maintenance and improvement of highways, but they also present opportunities for crashes that might not occur under normal driving conditions. From 2006-2011, 3,192 crashes resulted in some sort of injury, and 123 crashes resulted in a fatality in Alabama work zones. Highway safety is an issue that needs to be taken more seriously by both motorists and workers in order to reduce the frequency and severity of work zone-related crashes. The motivation behind this project was to collect, organize, and examine available data on work zone crashes across all nine divisions in Alabama from 1998-2012. The analysis was conducted on 3,857 work zone-related crashes, and included 17 variables. Additionally, two specific, well-defined aims of the research were developed to appropriately identify the most significant factors associated with work zone-related crashes, and are as follows: (1) “To identify the most significant factors related to crash severity for work zone-related crashes in the state of Alabama,” (2) “To identify the most significant factors related to crash location for work zone-related crashes in the state of Alabama.” The focus of these aims was to specifically identify factors related to crash severity in work zone-related crashes, as well as determining the distribution of work zone crashes by location within the work zone. Based on the available data, “Manner of Crash,” “Primary Contributing Factor,” “First Harmful Event” and “Highway Classification” had the greatest impact on determining the resulting crash severity of a work zone-related crash. “Work Zone Type,” “Traffic Control,” “Highway Side,” “Traffic way lanes” and “Manner of Crash” had the greatest impact on determining the resulting work zone crash location. Additionally, crashes occurring within the Transition Area comprised approximately 80% of the occurrences for “Work Zone Type,” “Traffic Control,” “Highway Side,” “Traffic way lanes” and “Manner of Crash.” Furthermore, 72.9% of crashes occurring within the Transition Area resulted in a fatality, making it the most severe work zone crash location.