Development of a framework to compare the cost-effectiveness of traffic crash countermeasures

Thompson, Patricia
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As the transportation industry moves towards an ultimate goal of zero deaths on roads in the United States, decisions are made every day regarding how to best utilize limited transportation funding for the implementation of crash countermeasures. At a time when many jurisdictions face difficulties in maintaining their existing infrastructure, additional tools are necessary to ensure that available funding is spent in the most productive manner. Determining whether or not a crash countermeasure is financially justified is one of the primary considerations in transportation agencies’ planning and programming efforts. However, a myriad of analytical concerns limit the ability to effectively determine the cost-effectiveness of specific countermeasures. Using a series of locally-derived safety performance functions (SPFs) and severity distribution functions (SDFs), this study provides a set of tools that can be used to assess the feasibility of potential countermeasures for various location types (e.g., segments, intersections, etc.). Construction cost data for a series of countermeasures can be integrated with robust crash modification factors (CMFs), allowing for a flexible economic analysis framework in which competing or complementary countermeasures can be evaluated. The final product of this project provides decision-makers with a planning-level tool that will allow for direct consideration of the prospective economic impacts and related uncertainty that is inherent in such estimates.

crash modification factor, economic analysis, safety performance function, severity distribution function, traffic safety evaluation