Five-County Minnesota Case Study: Rural Roadway Fatal Crash Characteristics and Select Safety Improvement Programs


Tyler Patterson, Lee Munnich

December 2008

Report no. CTS 08-03

This second in a series of CERS research reports summarizes the characteristics of the fatal rural roadway crashes within five Minnesota counties and describes some of the safety improvement programs or campaigns being used in this five-county area.

Past research has shown that some of the many characteristics of fatal rural roadway crashes include younger drivers, alcohol involvement, lack of seat belt use, and speeding. The crash data summarized in this report were generally obtained from the Minnesota Department of Transportation and Minnesota Department of Public Safety. Several recommendations have been proposed as a result of this case study project that focus on improving rural roadway safety data and analyses. Evaluations of safety improvement programs/campaigns are also proposed. Recommendations include:

  • Examine more rural roadway crash factors and combinations of factors for additional clarification.
  • Improve the metrics used to describe or define rural roadways in the United States.
  • Use the primary characteristics of rural roadway crashes as the basis for safety improvement measures and programs implemented in rural areas.
  • Include measures and strategies that improve driver decision-making as one of the focus or emphasis areas of a comprehensive safety program.
  • Fund projects that continue to help upgrade and apply GIS tools to plot and evaluate safety data with respect to driver behavior and roadway conditions.
  • Scientifically evaluate the impacts of the safety improvement programs described in this report.

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