Document Type



Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Civil Engineering

First Advisor's Name

Albert Gan

First Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Chair

Second Advisor's Name

L. David Shen

Third Advisor's Name

Mohammed Hadi

Fourth Advisor's Name

Zhenmin Chen


Safety Performance Functions, SafetyAnalyst, Crash Prediction, High Crash Locations

Date of Defense



In 2010, the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) released a safety analysis software system known as SafetyAnalyst. SafetyAnalyst implements the empirical Bayes (EB) method, which requires the use of Safety Performance Functions (SPFs). The system is equipped with a set of national default SPFs, and the software calibrates the default SPFs to represent the agency’s safety performance. However, it is recommended that agencies generate agency-specific SPFs whenever possible. Many investigators support the view that the agency-specific SPFs represent the agency data better than the national default SPFs calibrated to agency data. Furthermore, it is believed that the crash trends in Florida are different from the states whose data were used to develop the national default SPFs.

In this dissertation, Florida-specific SPFs were developed using the 2008 Roadway Characteristics Inventory (RCI) data and crash and traffic data from 2007-2010 for both total and fatal and injury (FI) crashes. The data were randomly divided into two sets, one for calibration (70% of the data) and another for validation (30% of the data). The negative binomial (NB) model was used to develop the Florida-specific SPFs for each of the subtypes of roadway segments, intersections and ramps, using the calibration data. Statistical goodness-of-fit tests were performed on the calibrated models, which were then validated using the validation data set. The results were compared in order to assess the transferability of the Florida-specific SPF models.

The default SafetyAnalyst SPFs were calibrated to Florida data by adjusting the national default SPFs with local calibration factors. The performance of the Florida-specific SPFs and SafetyAnalyst default SPFs calibrated to Florida data were then compared using a number of methods, including visual plots and statistical goodness-of-fit tests. The plots of SPFs against the observed crash data were used to compare the prediction performance of the two models. Three goodness-of-fit tests, represented by the mean absolute deviance (MAD), the mean square prediction error (MSPE), and Freeman-Tukey R2 (R2FT), were also used for comparison in order to identify the better-fitting model. The results showed that Florida-specific SPFs yielded better prediction performance than the national default SPFs calibrated to Florida data.

The performance of Florida-specific SPFs was further compared with that of the full SPFs, which include both traffic and geometric variables, in two major applications of SPFs, i.e., crash prediction and identification of high crash locations. The results showed that both SPF models yielded very similar performance in both applications. These empirical results support the use of the flow-only SPF models adopted in SafetyAnalyst, which require much less effort to develop compared to full SPFs.





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