Rural Intersection Lighting Safety Analysis
Gibbons, Ronald B.
Terry, Travis N.
Edwards, Christopher J.
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Under the sponsorship of the National Surface Transportation Safety Center for Excellence (NSTSCE), this research studied the relationship between lighting level and the night-to-day (ND) crash ratio at rural intersections in the state of Virginia. Most existing research on intersection lighting indicates that the presence of lighting reduces night crashes. This study aimed to quantify the effect of lighting level and lighting quality on ND crash ratios at rural intersections. Lighting data were collected from 131 rural intersections in Virginia, and crash data for the intersections were obtained from the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT). Lighting data were collected using a Roadway Lighting Mobile Measurement System (RLMMS). Out of the 131 intersections, data from 99 intersections were used for the comparative analysis. Data from 32 intersections could not be used because of issues with lighting data (e.g., Global Positioning System, illuminance data dropouts). Negative binomial regression was used to model the crash and lighting data. The results showed that increasing the average horizontal illuminance at all the intersections (both lighted and unlighted) by one unit (1 lux) decreased the ND crash ratio by 7%. For the lighted intersections, the same increase in average horizontal illuminance decreased the ND crash ratio by 9%. The largest decrease in the ND crash ratio was for unlighted intersections, where a 1-lux increase in the average horizontal illuminance decreased the ND crash ratio by 21%. The average roadway luminance also had negative parameter estimates, indicating that an increase in average roadway luminance results in a lower ND crash ratio. Stop-controlled intersections had smaller ND crash ratios compared to signalized intersections. Intersections with a posted speed limit of less than or equal to 40 mph had lower ND crash ratios compared to intersections with a posted speed limit higher than 40 mph. Results also showed that most lighting levels at most rural intersections did not meet the standards recommended by the Illuminating Engineering Society of North America (IESNA).