machine learning, genetic programming, multi lane, injury severity, classification and regression tree, conditional inference tree, safety, random forest


Reduction of crash occurrence on the various roadway locations (mid-block segments; signalized intersections; un-signalized intersections) and the mitigation of injury severity in the event of a crash are the major concerns of transportation safety engineers. Multi lane arterial roadways (excluding freeways and expressways) account for forty-three percent of fatal crashes in the state of Florida. Significant contributing causes fall under the broad categories of aggressive driver behavior; adverse weather and environmental conditions; and roadway geometric and traffic factors. The objective of this research was the implementation of innovative, state-of-the-art analytical methods to identify the contributing factors for crashes and injury severity. Advances in computational methods render the use of modern statistical and machine learning algorithms. Even though most of the contributing factors are known a-priori, advanced methods unearth changing trends. Heuristic evolutionary processes such as genetic programming; sophisticated data mining methods like conditional inference tree; and mathematical treatments in the form of sensitivity analyses outline the major contributions in this research. Application of traditional statistical methods like simultaneous ordered probit models, identification and resolution of crash data problems are also key aspects of this study. In order to eliminate the use of unrealistic uniform intersection influence radius of 250 ft, heuristic rules were developed for assigning crashes to roadway segments, signalized intersection and access points using parameters, such as 'site location', 'traffic control' and node information. Use of Conditional Inference Forest instead of Classification and Regression Tree to identify variables of significance for injury severity analysis removed the bias towards the selection of continuous variable or variables with large number of categories. For the injury severity analysis of crashes on highways, the corridors were clustered into four optimum groups. The optimum number of clusters was found using Partitioning around Medoids algorithm. Concepts of evolutionary biology like crossover and mutation were implemented to develop models for classification and regression analyses based on the highest hit rate and minimum error rate, respectively. Low crossover rate and higher mutation reduces the chances of genetic drift and brings in novelty to the model development process. Annual daily traffic; friction coefficient of pavements; on-street parking; curbed medians; surface and shoulder widths; alcohol / drug usage are some of the significant factors that played a role in both crash occurrence and injury severities. Relative sensitivity analyses were used to identify the effect of continuous variables on the variation of crash counts. This study improved the understanding of the significant factors that could play an important role in designing better safety countermeasures on multi lane highways, and hence enhance their safety by reducing the frequency of crashes and severity of injuries. Educating young people about the abuses of alcohol and drugs specifically at high schools and colleges could potentially lead to lower driver aggression. Removal of on-street parking from high speed arterials unilaterally could result in likely drop in the number of crashes. Widening of shoulders could give greater maneuvering space for the drivers. Improving pavement conditions for better friction coefficient will lead to improved crash recovery. Addition of lanes to alleviate problems arising out of increased ADT and restriction of trucks to the slower right lanes on the highways would not only reduce the crash occurrences but also resulted in lower injury severity levels.


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Graduation Date



Abdel-Aty, Mohamed


Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)


College of Engineering and Computer Science


Civil and Environmental Engineering

Degree Program

Civil Engineering








Release Date

February 2010

Length of Campus-only Access


Access Status

Masters Thesis (Open Access)