Degree

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Agricultural & Extension Education

Document Type

Dissertation

Abstract

The primary purpose of this study was to determine the influence of selected demographic, environmental and infrastructure factors on the incidence and severity of traffic accidents involving a motorized vehicle and a non-motorized (pedestrian or bicyclist) individual. Identification of influential factors can aid in developing more effective countermeasures, targeted education and training programs to reduce the fatality and injury risks to vulnerable road users. A total of 9,538 crash data records involving vulnerable road users and motor vehicle drivers were utilized in this study.

Overall, vulnerable road users were found to have higher incidences of impairment than motorized vehicle drivers in accidents involving the two groups. In addition, it was discovered there was a higher incidence of VRU/motorist accidents in mixed use environments and more of these types of accidents occurring at locations other than at an intersection. The time of day with the highest incidence of VRU/motorist accidents is between the hours of 6 p.m. and 12 a.m. The younger drivers and older VRU’s that were most likely to be involved in high severity accidents. Environments with no streetlights in darkness were most likely to experience high incidence of higher severity crashes. Furthermore, it was discovered that the VRU’s displayed higher incidence of distraction in VRU/motorist accidents than the motorized driver.

Based on these findings the researcher concluded that environment and VRU behaviors are major contributors to motorized/non-motorized accidents. The researcher recommends education campaigns to persuade vulnerable road users to develop a better understanding of safety practices when interacting with motorized vehicles. The researcher also recommends further study into the appropriate measures to mitigate environment factors such as lighting and mixed-use developments.

Committee Chair

Burnett, Michael F.

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