VHB’s Safety Team Publishes Two FHWA Research Reports

Data-driven approach will improve safety on our nation’s roadways.

June 27, 2024

The front cover of the research report for FHWA.

VHB’s Safety team recently published two research reports for the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) aimed at improving understanding and management of traffic behavior and safety on highways and Federal Lands.

The first report, titled “Verification and Calibration of Microscopic Traffic Simulation Using Driver Behavior and Car-Following Metrics for Freeway Segments,” was a collaborative effort between VHB’s Kristin Kersavage, PE, PhD, Safety Engineer Project Manager, and Richard J. Porter, PE, PhD, Highway Safety Engineer; and the University of Utah’s Civil and Environmental Engineering Research Associate Professor, Juan C Medina, PhD; Graduate Research Assistant, Arman Malekloo; and Xiaoyue (Cathy) Liu, PE, Associate Chair and Professor. The study dove into the intricacies of driving behavior and focused on car-following behavior from passenger vehicles on freeway segments. The research team leveraged driving behavior data from the Second Strategic Highway Research Program (SHRP2) naturalistic driving study (NDS) to calibrate microscopic traffic simulation models with driving behavior.

Also part of VHB’s ongoing support of FHWA’s Office of Safety and Operations Research and Development and the Office of Federal Lands Highway (FLH), VHB’s Ian Hamilton, AICP, Transportation Planner; Michael Spear, Geospatial Analyst; and Catherine Chestnutt, Transportation Planner co-authored a technical report titled, “Development of Safety and Traffic Data Collection System and Analysis Framework for Federal Lands.” As part of the Federal Lands Highway’s Innovation and Research Program, this project explored the application of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) for evaluating safety risks in Federal Lands and rural areas where traditional datasets may be sparse. The research team developed a comprehensive framework for collecting and analyzing open-source data to prioritize custom data needs, which promises to significantly improve traffic management and safety evaluations in these challenging environments.

This research has already supported other VHB-led safety plans and data collection efforts in Alabama, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Georgia, North Carolina, and Oregon, and was most recently presented at the Transportation Research Board’s (TRB’s) 2nd International Roadside Safety Conference in June 2024.

The two timely reports reflect FHWA and VHB’s commitment to fostering innovation and improving safety for all road users. Learn more about safety at VHB.

The front cover of the research report on an iPad for FHWA.