Exploring the association between traffic safety and geometric design consistency based on vehicle speed metrics

Kun-Feng Wu*, Eric T. Donnell, Scott C. Himes, Lekshmi Sasidharan

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


Past design consistency research has demonstrated the relationship between operating speeds and geometric design features on two-lane rural highways. However, little is known about the relationship between geometric design consistency and traffic safety. In this study, design consistency is referred to as the difference between operating speed and inferred design speed, and design consistency density is measured to account for the effect of elements upstream and downstream of the study element. To perform the design consistency-safety evaluation in the present study, geometric design, roadway inventory, crash, and operating speed data were collected along two case-study highways in central Pennsylvania (U.S. 322 and PA 350). Several count regression model formulations were used to explore the statistical association betweendesign consistency and total crash frequency. A statistically significant positive association between geometric design consistency and safety was found. Design consistency surrounding the study elements was also found to increase the expected crash frequency in the study element. The significant effects of design consistency and design consistency density measures on crash frequency for the two case-study sites indicate that there is value in further considering the relationship between design consistency and safety in future research, particularly in the context of the highway safety manual crash-prediction algorithm.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)738-748
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Transportation Engineering
Issue number7
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2013


  • Crash frequency
  • Design consistency
  • Geometric design
  • Inferred design speed
  • Two-lane highways


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