CTRE is an Iowa State University center, administered by the Institute for Transportation.

Address: 2711 S. Loop Drive, Suite 4700, Ames, IA 50010-8664

Phone: 515-294-8103
FAX: 515-294-0467

Website: www.ctre.iastate.edu/

Iowa State University--Becoming the Best

Safety Effectiveness of High-Speed Expressway Signals


Principal investigators:

Student researcher:

Project status


Start date: 01/01/05
End date: 08/31/05


Report: Safety Effectiveness of High-Speed Expressway Signals (428 kb pdf) August 2005

Tech transfer summary: Safety Effectiveness of High-Speed Expressway Signals ( pdf) Nov 2005


Sponsor(s): Iowa Department of Transportation

About the research

Abstract: The safety benefit of signalizing intersections of high-speed divided expressways is considered. Analyses were conducted on 50 and 55 mph and on 55 mph only intersections, comparing unsignalized and signalized intersections. Results of the 55 mph analysis are included in this report. Matched-pair analysis indicates that generally, signalized intersections have higher crash rate but lower costs per crash. On the other hand, before-and-after analysis (intersections signalized between 1994 and 2001) indicates lower crash rates (~30 percent) and total costs (~10 percent) after signalization. Empirical Bayes (EB) adjusted before-and-after analysis reduces estimates of safety benefit (crash rate) to about 20 percent. The study shows how commonly used analyses can differ in their results, and that there is great variability in the safety performance of individual signalized locations. This variability and the effect of EB adjustment are demonstrated through the use of innovative graphics.