In-depth analysis of drivers' merging behavior and rear-end crash risks in work zone merging areas

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Accident Analysis and Prevention, 2015, 77 pp. 51 - 61
Issue Date:
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© 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved. This study investigates the drivers' merging behavior and the rear-end crash risk in work zone merging areas during the entire merging implementation period from the time of starting a merging maneuver to that of completing the maneuver. With the merging traffic data from a work zone site in Singapore, a mixed probit model is developed to describe the merging behavior, and two surrogate safety measures including the time to collision (TTC) and deceleration rate to avoid the crash (DRAC) are adopted to compute the rear-end crash risk between the merging vehicle and its neighboring vehicles. Results show that the merging vehicle has a bigger probability of completing a merging maneuver quickly under one of the following situations: (i) the merging vehicle moves relatively fast; (ii) the merging lead vehicle is a heavy vehicle; and (iii) there is a sizable gap in the adjacent through lane. Results indicate that the rear-end crash risk does not monotonically increase as the merging vehicle speed increases. The merging vehicle's rear-end crash risk is also affected by the vehicle type. There is a biggest increment of rear-end crash risk if the merging lead vehicle belongs to a heavy vehicle. Although the reduced remaining distance to work zone could urge the merging vehicle to complete a merging maneuver quickly, it might lead to an increased rear-end crash risk. Interestingly, it is found that the rear-end crash risk could be generally increased over the elapsed time after the merging maneuver being triggered.
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