Date of Award

12-2006

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Legacy Department

Civil Engineering

Advisor

Sarasua, Wayne A

Abstract

State of South Carolina ranks high in the fatality rates. The state is a predominately a rural state with more percentage of rural roads. This research focuses on the statistical variation of crash rates between the county and block-group, especially rural once to the state. Also, it focuses on the possibility of various socio-economic and demographic characters influence on the high crash rates particularly in rural South Carolina.
Crash database for the year 2004 was acquired from South Carolina Department of Transportation and was processed by the research team at Clemson University. This processed database was imported into GIS. Spatial analysis is used to aggregate crash data to rural census block groups. Crash rates are developed in terms of the number of injury and fatal crashes per 1000 persons of driver age for each block group in South Carolina.
A sample of block groups, with high crash incidences was identified. These unusually high incidence block groups are further investigated to identify potential causal factors that may be related to the demographic and socio-economic characteristics of the areas. Fatal and injury crashes, jointly termed as severe crashes were considered for the detailed analysis. Also all the crashes occurring on the Interstate highways were filtered out.
Field investigations of the select block groups were also undertaken to ascertain the characteristics of the roadway system. Based on the analysis, conclusions were drawn that rural areas of are of greatest concern when it comes to highway crashes. The results indicate that, there is significant variation in crash rates for individual rural block-groups and the entire state. Young driver age population was observed as one of the main factor in influencing high severe crashes rate. From the traffic perspective, transition areas into rural towns and rural cities were some of the most dangerous locations in the state.
Based of the present analysis, recommendations are made which might help the further studies to run a more efficient analysis and also draw firm conclusions.

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