Sub-communities within this community

Recent Submissions

  • Pedestrian Safety Analysis using Computer Vision

    Champlin, Daniel; Hanson, Lane; Lowry, Michael (2024-06-18)
    The goal of this research project was to explore the capabilities of computer vision for pedestrian safety analysis. Computer vision, an AI application in image processing, tracks the movement of cars, bikes, and pedestrians, offering superior information about speed, trajectory, and count data for various transportation modes. The University of Idaho acquired two computer vision sensors from the startup Numina. This project funded the installation and one year of data access. In collaboration with the City of Moscow, we identified a test location, but the sensors failed to provide the necessary data. Consequently, we pivoted to the open-source computer vision package YOLOv8. Our research then focused on YOLOv8’s capabilities for pedestrian safety analysis. The first task tested detection accuracy, and the second compared different model sizes, or “brain sizes,” of YOLOv8, which range from smaller, faster models to larger, more accurate ones. Accuracy tests compared average detection confidence across various zones and times of day, revealing that cars in high daylight had the highest confidence levels, while objects closer to the camera and oriented perpendicularly were detected more accurately. In contrast, objects at skewed angles and farther distances had lower confidence levels. The model size comparison showed that larger models, despite requiring more time and storage, produced significantly higher-quality detections.
  • An evaluation of GPR monitoring methods on varying river ice conditions: A case study in Alaska

    Richards, Elizabeth; Stuefer, Svetlana; Rangel, Rodrigo Correa; Maio, Christopher; Belz, Nathan; Daanen, Ronald (Elsevier, 2023-03-08)
    Ice roads and bridges across rivers, estuaries, and lakes are common transportation routes during winter in regions of the circumpolar north. Ice thickness, hydraulic hazards, climate variability and associated warmer air temperatures have always raised safety concerns and uncertainty among those who travel floating ice road routes. One way to address safety concerns is to monitor ice conditions throughout the season. We tested ground penetrating radar (GPR) for its ability and accuracy in measuring floating ice thickness under three specific conditions: 1) presence of snow cover and overflow, 2) presence of snow cover, and 3) bare ice, all common to Interior Alaska rivers. In addition, frazil ice was evaluated for its ability to interfere with the GPR measurement of ice thickness. We collected manual ice measurements and GPR cross-sectional transects over 2 years on the Tanana River near Fairbanks, Alaska, and for 1 year on the Yukon River near Tanana, Alaska. Ground truth measurements were compared with ice thickness calculated from an average velocity model created using GPR data. The error was as low as 2.3–6.4% on the Yukon River (Condition 3) and 4.6–9.5% on the Tanana River (Conditions 1 and 2), with the highest errors caused by overflow conditions. We determined that certain environmental conditions such as snow cover and overflow change the validity of an average velocity model for ice thickness identification using GPR, while frazil ice accumulation does not have a detectable effect on the strength of radar reflection at the ice-water interface with the frequencies tested. Ground penetrating radar is a powerful tool for measuring river ice thickness, yet further research is needed to advance the ability of rural communities to monitor ice thickness using fewer time-intensive manual measurements to determine the safety of ice cover on transportation routes.

    Goering, Douglas (2024-02)
    This work focuses on the performance of Expanded Polystyrene and Extruded Polystyrene insulation used in roadway embankments. Insulated roadways have been used in Alaska since the 1960’s and have become ubiquitous in more recent roadway projects. These insulation layers are used to provide a thermal barrier that reduces frost heave and/or reduces permafrost thaw beneath the embankment. Both frost heave reduction and permafrost protection are dependent on an effective insulation layer that limits heat transfer into and out of the base layers of the embankment. It is well known that accumulated moisture in insulation layers can significantly reduce their thermal performance and, thus, reduce their ability to protect embankments. Existing Alaska Department of Transportation Standard Specifications for Highway Construction require that polystyrene insulation boards have a minimum thermal resistance (R-value) of 4.5 per inch thickness, and that they are able to withstand a 24-hr water immersion test with a limited amount of moisture ingress. However, short-term immersion tests are not well-suited to predict the long-term accumulation of moisture that occurs in insulation installed in embankments. A potentially better method for testing insulation moisture ingress under roadway embankment conditions consists of the use of ASTM C1512 which relies on moisture vapor diffusion rather than direct immersion to introduce water into the insulation. A modified version of ASTM C1512 is used in this study to better understand moisture ingress into polystyrene insulation samples and the implications for thermal performance of the products.

    Daley, Steven (2021-04)
    Ice roads are a common type transportation corridor in regions of the circumpolar north that traverse frozen rivers, lakes, and other bodies of water. This report reviews the existing literature that is relevant to the design, construction, operation, and maintenance of ice roads in the circumpolar north. It begins with a compact review of ice formation in river and lakes with an emphasis on those aspects that are relevant to ice roads: ice cover formation and growth, the various types of ice, ice decay, and breakup. Next it addresses bearing capacity, the ability of the ice cover to support a load. The current approach for determining the bearing capacity combines an approach based on elastic plate theory with a conservative failure criterion and uses empirical coefficients based on observations. An important point here is that selection of a coefficient value is, in effect, selection of a risk level for use of the ice road. The approaches used by Canadian provinces and territories is reviewed along with their approach to the range of risk levels. The construction of ice roads is then described. Ice road construction involves setting the ice road widths, increasing the ice cover thickness, if necessary, through snow clearing and flooding of the ice cover, and installing signage. The hazards that can affect the integrity of the ice road and safe operation of vehicles, and the controls that can be put into place to remediate or prevent the hazards from occurring are then discussed. Finally, an ice road risk management framework is described. The Risk Management Framework allows the operators of the ice road a means of balancing the needs and requirements of the ice road users and the resources available to the operators at an acceptable risk level.
  • Design and Operation of Ice Roads

    Daley, Steven; Connor, Billy; Garron, Jessica; Stuefer, Svetlana; Belz, Nathan; Bjella, Kevin (2022-12)
    This manual provides for the safe and efficient design, construction, maintenance, and operation of ice roads over freshwater. As such, it provides the parties responsible for the ice road guidelines for ensuring the safe operation of the ice road including route selection, minimum ice thicknesses, repair strategies, maximum vehicle weights and speed, and proper signage. The information provided in the manual represents best practices compiled from existing literature and from those who have experience working on ice roads. While every scenario cannot be foreseen, the information contained in this manual should provide sufficient knowledge to extrapolate safe solutions which are not explicitly covered here.
  • Promoting Positive Traffic Safety Culture in RITI Communities through Active Engagement: Implementation Guide and Outreach Activities

    Pehrson, Jacob; Prescott, Logan; Abdel-Rahim, Ahmed (2023-09)
    RITI crash data analysis clearly highlights three major areas of concern: prevalence of excessive speed, impaired and distracted driving, and underage driving. Safety-focused educational programs and awareness campaigns have all contributed to a reduction in crashes in urban areas. However, in RITI communities, much more work is still needed. It is important that communities are provided with the proper resources and methods to deliver the appropriate training and educational tools that promote and cause a significant positive change in the traffic safety culture. Through reviewed literature and interviews with tribal community stakeholders, this research team came to understand that tribal youth are most impacted and engaged when educational material is made culturally relevant. We then developed an implementation guide to be used by tribes to create, develop, and enact a sustained educational program with the mission to positively impact traffic safety culture among youth in tribal and rural communities.
  • Assessing the Relative Risks of School Travel in Rural Communities

    Chang, Kevin; Souvenir, Brandt (2023-09)
    This study examined school travel safety and risk and explored the potential differences between conditions that are present today with those that existed nearly two decades ago, when the Transportation Research Board published its landmark study on school travel safety. For this study, thirty transportation professionals were interviewed and a twenty-year crash data set from the Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) was analyzed. The responses from the interviews were separated into ten common themes. The three most mentioned themes were education programs, concerns of roadway environments, and school bus safety. Based on the responses, concerns about the roadway environment, poor driver behavior, and the role of parents on mode choice have not changed in the last twenty years; however, safety education programs, vehicle centric travel, community planning, and pick up/drop off safety have evolved over time. With regard to the FARS data set, which was used as a benchmark to assess school transportation safety, the overall trends indicate that the trip to and from school remains a relatively safe activity, particularly along rural facilities where positive results were identified across four key metrics. Along urban facilities, slightly increasing trends were observed in the annual number of fatalities and in the number of non-motorists involved in a fatal crash, suggesting that opportunities remain to enhance and to improve the travel environment for school children.

    Chang, Kevin; Williams, Jade (2023-07)
    Autonomous, or self-driving, vehicles have the capability to either fully or partially replace a human driver in the navigation to a destination. To better understand how receptive society will be to these types of vehicles, this study focused on the perceived level of trust in autonomous vehicles (AVs) by rural drivers and passengers. An online survey that examined the behavioral and value-based perspectives of drivers was developed and distributed to respondents across the United States, and a total of 1,247 valid responses were collected and analyzed. Based on the results, rural (and non-rural) respondents had similar levels of trust when comparing self-driving vehicles with human-driven vehicles, though older people and those with less education tended to have less trust in self-driving vehicles. The outcomes from this study can be used to support targeted outreach efforts for those drivers who remain skeptical about the overall safety benefits of this evolving transportation technology area.
  • Mini-RWIS Pilot Project

    Randall, Kevin; Connor, Billy; Weiss, Richard; Cormier, Elycia (2023-05)
    Campbell Scientific in partnership with ADOT&PF successfully demonstrated the use of a low-power, low-cost, small-footprint, mini-RWIS concept in Alaska that could reliably deliver atmospheric and road temperature data as well as camera images year-round. The project originally was conceived to demonstrate eight mini-RWIS stations. ADOT&PF personnel performed site selection. Of the eight mini-RWIS initially conceived for this demonstration project seven mini-RWIS stations were successfully deployed at selected sites in DOT Northern and South-Central regions. The eighth station was incorporated into a University of Alaska project at Atigun Pass that was designed to provide data, forecasting and warning for avalanche risks on the Dalton Highway. The system utilized multiple cameras, blowing snow sensors, as well as other atmospheric sensors on a solar panel/battery system. This station at Atigun Pass should be considered a step above the mini-RWIS concept and is, by far, the northern-most advanced RWIS station deployed in the state of Alaska providing data in an area where the climate conditions are extreme. As such, the station requirements were designed to withstand, high winds, temperatures below -40oF, the potential for rime ice, two months without sunlight, and lack of cellular connectivity. Consequently, the location challenged the equipment. Campbell Scientific initially shipped all equipment to Alaska in the spring of 2019 to be cold chamber tested at the University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF), then installed in the field prior to the winter season. Cold chamber testing was successfully accomplished, however, due to a variety of delays these stations were not installed prior to the 2019/2020 winter season. In March of 2020, the global COVID-19 pandemic prevented Campbell Scientific personnel from traveling and installing stations during the summer of 2020. Instead, Campbell Scientific reached out to a long-time user of CS equipment, Michael Lilly of Geo-Watersheds Scientific (GWS), in Fairbanks, AK. Michael and his team have decades of experience in the design of low-power data acquisition systems and networks (including power system design, programming, installation, and maintenance) with specialization in remote hydrological and meteorological monitoring stations. The GWS team set out to understand the needs of the project and immediately became fully invested. As a result, the mini-RWIS system design went through a modification process per the recommendations of the GWS team. Campbell Scientific work with GWS to affect the following changes to the mini-RWIS: • Expansion of battery bank considering the long Alaskan winters • Addition of CH200 regulator for the purpose of gathering critical information on the performance of the power system. • Addition of a fiberglass enclosure for the purpose of protecting cables from wildlife during winter months when food sources are depleted. • Reprogramming of dataloggers to meet project goals • Configuration of CCFC camera for optimization of power requirements. GWS was contracted by CSI with approval from ADOT&PF (Contract # 2520H016 Amendment #1) to utilize GWS’ services for installation of two stations during the winter of 2020/2021. ADOT&PF personnel also installed one station during the winter of 2020/2021. Campbell Scientific personnel traveled to Alaska for two weeks during September of 2021 to install the remaining four mini-RWIS stations prior to the 2021/2022 winter season. Maintenance was performed on the three previously installed stations during that trip. Project update meetings were held between CSI, ADOT&PF, UAF, and GWS prior to the 2021/2022 winter season with additional performance review meetings in January 2022 to discuss station performance. CSI personnel additionally traveled to Alaska during July 2022 to visit project stakeholders in Anchorage and Fairbanks and to visit each of the seven mini-RWIS stations to perform general maintenance. In total seven mini-RWIS stations were installed between the northern and central regions in Alaska. The equipment (datalogger, sensors, power system, enclosures, etc.) from the eighth mini-RWIS station, with the support of ADOT&PF, was repurposed for a project being done by UAF personnel with the support of GWS. The CR300 datalogger (embedded in the mini-RWIS stations) was upgraded to the higher capacity CR1000X due to the need for additional sensor inputs, and additional sensors were used including two blowing snow sensors and an additional wind speed and direction sensor, an extreme-cold temperature sensor and snow depth, and snow temperature profile sensors. The seven standard mini-RWIS stations were assessed based on the performance of the atmospheric sensor data (including wind speed and direction, air temperature and relative humidity, and road surface temperature), reliable delivery of camera images, power performance, and cellular communication performance. The performance of the advanced winter-hazards RWIS was performed by the Atigun Pass project. Throughout the study period atmospheric data proved to be within an acceptable and expected range, was reliable and was recorded without failures. Camera images were reliable and delivered in a timely manner over the cellular network. The power performance proved to be very robust and more than sufficient for the power needs of the mini-RWIS stations. Cellular communications proved reliable. Several minor instances of loss of cellular connectivity were encountered but cellular connection was regained quickly and self-corrected.
  • Drone-based Computer Vision-Enabled Vehicle Dynamic Mobility and Safety Performance Monitoring

    Zhang, Guohui; Yuan, Runze; Prevedouros, Panos; Ma, Tianwei (2023-01-30)
    This report documents the research activities to develop a drone-based computer vision-enabled vehicle dynamic safety performance monitoring in Rural, Isolated, Tribal, or Indigenous (RITI) communities. The acquisition of traffic system information, especially the vehicle speed and trajectory information, is of great significance to the study of the characteristics and management of the traffic system in RITI communities. The traditional method of relying on video analysis to obtain vehicle number and trajectory information has its application scenarios, but the common video source is often a camera fixed on a roadside device. In the videos obtained in this way, vehicles are likely to occlude each other, which seriously affects the accuracy of vehicle detection and the estimation of speed. Although there are methods to obtain high-view road video by means of aircraft and satellites, the corresponding cost will be high. Therefore, considering that drones can obtain high-definition video at a higher viewing angle, and the cost is relatively low, we decided to use drones to obtain road videos to complete vehicle detection. In order to overcome the shortcomings of traditional object detection methods when facing a large number of targets and complex scenes of RITI communities, our proposed method uses convolutional neural network (CNN) technology. We modified the YOLO v3 network structure and used a vehicle data set captured by drones for transfer learning, and finally trained a network that can detect and classify vehicles in videos captured by drones. A self-calibrated road boundary extraction method based on image sequences was used to extract road boundaries and filter vehicles to improve the detection accuracy of cars on the road. Using the results of neural network detection as input, we use video-based object tracking to complete the extraction of vehicle trajectory information for traffic safety improvements. Finally, the number of vehicles, speed and trajectory information of vehicles were calculated, and the average speed and density of the traffic flow were estimated on this basis. By analyzing the acquiesced data, we can estimate the traffic condition of the monitored area to predict possible crashes on the highways.

    Ban, Xuegang (Jeff); Abramson, Daniel; Zhang, Yiran; Lukins, Sarah; Goodrich, Kevin; Mirante, Andrea; Lambert, Rachel; Yankey, Mykala (2023-02)
    Transportation and traffic safety is a primary concern within Rural, Isolated, Tribal and Indigenous (RITI) communities in Washington State. Emerging technologies such as connected and autonomous vehicles, sensors and drones have been tested and developed to improve traffic safety, but these advances have largely been limited to urban areas. This project identified opportunities and challenges of adopting drone technologies in RITI communities, and explored context-sensitive applications to traffic safety and related goals. In three phases, the team conducted community workshops, online surveys and other outreach activities with state and county agencies responsible for emergency management and crisis response in coastal Tribal and non-tribal communities; a planning studio and Comprehensive Plan Update for the City of Westport and its surrounding South Beach community straddling two rural counties and including the Shoalwater Bay Indian Tribe; and a pilot educational program with the School District that serves it. To be effective in rural contexts, adoption of drone technology depends on a broadening of local skill development and needs to target diverse community goals. In short, it needs to be broadly embedded in the community. Taking this sociotechnical approach, we focused on long-term workforce development and designed and implemented an after-school program (October 2021 – June 2022) for Ocosta Junior High School students. The course taught students how to assemble and pilot drones and apply them to a variety of practical needs including public works inspection, search and rescue, and environmental monitoring of coastal flooding.
  • Development of an Acoustic Method to Collect Studded Tire Traffic Data

    Chang, Kevin; Alhasyah, Meeloud (2023-02)
    Travel during winter months remains particularly problematic in the Pacific Northwest due to the regular occurrence of inclement weather in the form of snow and ice during freezing and sub-freezing conditions. For travelers and commuters alike, vehicle traction in the form of studded tires serves to provide an added level of driving confidence when weather conditions deteriorate. However, recurring studded tire usage causes damage to the roadway infrastructure in the form of surface wear and rutting over time. Left unattended, this damage contributes to challenging and potentially dangerous driving conditions in the form of standing water and the increased potential for hydroplaning. Currently, an efficient and automated method to collect site-specific studded tire traffic volumes is lacking. While studded tire usage can be locally estimated based on manual roadway traffic counts, parking lot counts, or household surveys, the lack of real-world traffic volumes prevents the fine-tuning of roadway deterioration models that measure performance and estimate infrastructure life. This project tested the use of off-the-shelf sound meters to determine if an acoustic method could be developed to measure studded tire volumes. Based on the results, a prediction model was developed to allow for data-driven solutions that will benefit local transportation officials, planners, and engineers responsible for managing highways and roadways.
  • Assessing the Transportation Adaptation Options to Sea Level Rise for Safety Enhancement in RITI Communities through a Structured Decision-Making Framework

    Shen, Suwan; Shim, Dayea (2023-01-18)
    Through a structured decision-making framework, this study aims to better understand the key factors influencing transportation adaptation planning in practice. Qualitative, semi-structured, in-depth interviews with various stakeholders were conducted to identify the main concerns, challenges, objectives, tradeoffs, and evaluation variables in transportation adaptation planning. Stakeholders were identified through preliminary interviews with transportation planning experts from the metropolitan planning organization using typical case and snowball sampling methods. Key aspects related to the major concerns, objectives, priorities, adaptation plan evaluations, implementation challenges, and potential conflicts and tradeoffs are identified. Major barriers to adaptation plan development and implementation include lack of resources, competing with more urgent needs, conflicts with other planning objectives, lack of holistic view, working in silos, mismatched and outdated information, uncertainty in future scenarios, and action inertia. To overcome these challenges, we propose 1) more efforts to understand community values, develop strategic goals, and identify their priorities in order to balance the tradeoffs 2) collaboration with other sectors to develop a holistic view of resilience and strategic plans that achieve multiple planning goals 3) collaborate with diverse stakeholders to reduce spatial and temporal information mismatches and to create adaptive plans that can accommodate multiple scenarios with uncertainty 4) conduct community outreach and stakeholder engagement from the beginning to build support, consolidate resources, and eliminate social inertia for plan implementation.

    Zhang, Guohui; Yang, Hanyi; Yu, Hao; Li, Zhenning; Zou, Rong; Yuan, Runze; Ma, Tianwei (2022-09)
    This report documents the research activities to investigate the traffic crashes in Rural, Isolated, Tribal, or Indigenous (RITI) communities involving considerable incapacitating injuries and fatalities. The traffic crashes occurring in RITI communities, are different from urban traffic crashes, and are related more to the features like speeding, low application of safety devices (for instance, seatbelt), adverse weather conditions and lacking maintenance and repairs for road conditions, and inferior lighting conditions. Thus, it is necessary to study the properties and attributes of traffic crashes at the RITI area using data analysis methods, such as statistical methods, and data-driven methods. This project is trying to analyze the rural crash injury and fatality patterns caused by changing climates in RITI communities based on enhanced data analysis using latest mathematical method. The mixed logit model to examine the risk factors in determining driver injury severity in four crash configurations in two-vehicle rear-end crashes on state roads based on seven-years of data from the Washington State Department of Transportation. The differences between the MLM and the LCM are investigated for exploring the relationships between driver injury severity in the rain-related rural single-vehicle crash and its corresponding risk factors. Moreover, this project develops a latent class mixed logit model with temporal indicators to investigate highway single-vehicle crashes and the effects of significant contributing factors to driver injury severity. The results of this research will be beneficial to transportation agencies to propose effective methods to improve rural crash severities under special climate and weather conditions and minimize the rural crash risks and severities.
  • Improved Permafrost Protection using Air Convection and Ventilated Shoulder Cooling Systems - Final Project Report

    Goering, Douglas J. (2022-08)
    This report focuses on the effectiveness of air convection embankments (ACE) and ventilated shoulder (VS) cooling systems designed to cool foundation soils and preserve permafrost beneath roadway embankments. The three main sections of the report include a literature review, an analysis of field data from Thompson Drive and the Alaska Highway Dot Lake test site, and a discussion of techniques for modeling ACE and VS structures.

    Vasudevan, Vinod; Kapourchali, Mohammad Heidari (2022-03-30)
    Rural intersections are high-risk locations for road users. Particularly, during the nighttime, lower traffic volumes make it difficult for drivers to discern an intersection despite traffic signs. The lack of alertness may lead to severe crashes. An effective way to reduce the likelihood of crashes at isolated intersections is to warn road users of the intersection in advance. A smart-lighting system can detect approaching vehicles using sensors and transmit this information to a receiver to illuminate the intersection. By deploying a demand-responsive light, it is expected that the system will provide adequate warning to road users, both motorized and non-motorized. This report documents the development and deployment of a smart-lighting system at the University of Alaska Anchorage (UAA).
  • Improving Safety for RITI Communities in Idaho: Documenting Crash Rates and Possible Intervention Measures

    Lowry, Michael; Swoboda-Colberg, Skye; Prescott, Logan; Abdel-Rahim, Ahmed (2022-03-23)
    This report describes a new set of Geographic Information System (GIS) tools that we created to conduct safety analyses. These new GIS tools can be used by state DOTs and transportation agencies to document crash rates and prioritize safety improvement projects. The tools perform Network Segment Screening, the first step in the Roadway Safety Management Process (RSMP) outlined in the Highway Safety Manual (HSM). After developing these new tools, we conducted two case studies to demonstrate how they can be used. The first case study was for screening intersections. Our analysis included all intersections on the Idaho State Highway System. In practice, the analysis would likely be done only for a subset of intersections, such as only for signalized intersections on urban arterials. We chose all intersections for illustration purposes. The result was a ranking of intersections that would most likely benefit from safety improvement efforts. We applied three performance measures to rank the intersections: Crash Frequency, Crash Rate, and Equivalent Cost. The second case study was for screening roadway segments. Again, the entire Idaho State Highway System was included for illustration. The HSM describes two key methods for screening roadway segments: Simple Ranking and Sliding Window. Both methods are available in the new tools. This case study demonstrates the advantage of the Sliding Window, which would be impractical to accomplish on a large scale without the assistance of our new GIS tools. The final part of the work presented in this report is a synthesis to identify and document possible measures to reduce crashes for RITI communities in Idaho and throughout the northwest region.
  • Evaluation of Delivery Service in Rural Areas with CAV

    Prevedouros, Panos; Alghamdi, Abdulrahman (2022-03-15)
    Urban areas have been experiencing automated delivery technology for several servings of food or a few bags of groceries, with automated (robotic) mini vehicles. The benefits of such automated delivery may be much more significant for rural areas with long distances due to the large potential savings in travel time, travel cost, and crash risk. Compared to urban areas, rural areas have older and more disabled residents, longer distances, higher traffic fatality rates, and high ownership of less fuel-efficient vehicles such as pickup trucks. An evaluation of connected autonomous vehicle (CAV) delivery service in rural areas was conducted. A detailed methodology was developed and applied to two case studies: One for deliveries between Hilo and Volcano Village in Hawaii as a case of deliveries over a moderate distance (~50-mile roundtrip) in a high-energy-cost environment, and another for deliveries between Spokane and Sprague in Washington State as a case of deliveries over a longer distance (~80-mile roundtrip) in a low-energy-cost environment. The delivery vehicles were based on the same compact van: A person-driven gasoline-powered van, a person-driven electric-powered van, and a CAV electric-powered van. The case study results suggest that the CAV van can be a viable option for implementing a delivery business for rural areas based on the evaluation results that accounted for a large number of location-specific costs and benefits and the number of orders served per trip.
  • Barriers and Opportunities for Using Rail-Trails for Safe Travel in Rural, Isolated, and Tribal Communities

    Lowry, Michael; Chang, Kevin (2021-11)
    This project explored barriers and opportunities for more effectively using rail-trails for safe travel in rural, isolated, tribal, and indigenous communities. We investigated using crowdsourced data from a fitness app to estimate bicycle volumes on trails. For 10 locations this new method produced suitable results, but for 19 locations the method was not satisfactory. Future research could identify situations in which this new method is feasible. We also created a new mapping tool to get demographic data surrounding locations where new rail-trails could be built. We identified 8,616 miles of potential rail-trail in the Pacific Northwest and explored the surrounding demographics for 12 locations in rural communities in Idaho, Oregon, and Washington. We conducted two separate surveys to solicit community member opinions and usage habits of the Trail of the Coeur d’Alenes.
  • Developing a Data-Driven Safety Assessment Framework for RITI Communities in Washington State

    Wang, Yinhai; Sun, Wei; Ricord, Sam; de Souza, Cesar Maia; Yin, Shuyi; Tsai, Meng-Ju (2021-09-10)
    The roadway safety of the Rural, Isolated, Tribal, or Indigenous (RITI) communities has become an important social issue in the United States. Official data from the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) shows that, in 2012, 54 percent of all fatalities occurred on rural roads while only 19 percent of the US population lived in rural communities. Under the serious circumstances, this research aims to help the RITI communities to improve their roadway safety through the development of a roadway safety management system. Generally, a roadway safety management system includes two critical components, the baseline data platform and safety assessment framework. In our Year 1 and Year 2 CSET projects, a baseline data platform was developed by integrating the safety related data collected from the RITI communities in Washington State. This platform is capable of visualizing the accident records on the map. The Year 3 project further developed the safety data platform by developing crash data analysis and visualization functions. In addition, various roadway safety assessment methods had been developed to provide safety performance estimation, including historical accident data averages, predictions based on statistical and machine learning (ML) models, etc. Beside roadway safety assessment methods, this project investigated the safety countermeasures selection and recommendation methods for RITI communities. Specifically, the research team has reached out to RITI communities and established a formal research partnership with the Yakama Nation. The research team has conducted research on safety countermeasures analysis and recommendation for RITI communities.

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