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Geospatial Analysis of Rural Motor Vehicle Traffic Fatalities

November 30, 2009

Geospatial Analysis of Rural Motor Vehicle Traffic Fatalities
DOT HS 811 196
November 2009

PDF 51 pages:
http://www-nrd.nhtsa.dot.gov/pubs/811196.pdf

16. Abstract In recent years, on average about 44 percent of traffic
fatalities occurred in urban areas. NHTSA’s Fatality Analysis Reporting
System (FARS) codes the functional classification of land use by a
binary indicator, i.e., if the location is a rural or urban area, as
defined by the United States Census Bureau. However, this information is
not enough to determine the spatial spread of the fatalities in the
rural areas, i.e., are the fatalities occurring in suburban, exurban, or
the outlying rural areas. The focus of this report is to determine the
extent of fatalities that occur in rural areas that are close to urban
areas. Some of these communities in rural areas that are close to urban
areas have significant commuting ties with these urban areas. It would
be of interest to law enforcement and highway safety planners involved
in rural highway safety initiatives to quantify how many traffic
fatalities occur in rural areas that are close to urban areas. FARS has
begun reporting latitude and longitude information recently that
facilitates the type of geospatial analysis required to quantify
fatalities that occur near urban areas as a function of distance from
the urban boundaries. The distances (buffer distances) used in this
spatial analysis are 2.5, 5.0, 7.5, and 10.0 miles. While 44 percent of
all traffic fatalities occur in urban areas, the percentage increases to
63 percent in an area that also includes the rural area within 2.5 miles
of the urban boundary. The percentage increases to 73 percent 5.0 miles
out, 81 percent 7.5 miles out, and 86 percent 10 miles out. In summary,
about three-quarters of all traffic fatalities in the Nation occurred in
an area that includes all the urban areas along with the rural areas
that are within 5 miles of the urban boundaries.

Table of Contents……………Page

1. Executive Summary……………..4
2.Introduction…………………..6
3.Data and Methods………….7
4.Results……………………….11
4.1 Total Fatalities……………..12
4.2 Speeding-Related Fatalities…………15
4.3. Motorcyclist Fatalities…………….18
4.4. Pedestrian Fatalities……………..21
4.5. Fatalities in Crashes Involving Large Trucks………..24
4.6. Alcohol-Impaired Driving Fatalities……………………27
4.7.Unbelted Passenger Vehicle Occupant Fatalities………30
4.8. Fatalities During the Weekend………………………33
4.9. Nighttime Fatalities…………………………….36
4.10. Fatalities on Interstate Highways………………..39
4.11. Fatalities on U.S./State Highways……………….42
5. Conclusions…………………………………..45
6. References…………………………………..46
Appendix………………………………………..47

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