Investigating the effect of modeling single-vehicle and multi-vehicle crashes separately on confidence intervals of Poisson-gamma models. Academic Article uri icon


  • Crash prediction models still constitute one of the primary tools for estimating traffic safety. These statistical models play a vital role in various types of safety studies. With a few exceptions, they have often been employed to estimate the number of crashes per unit of time for an entire highway segment or intersection, without distinguishing the influence different sub-groups have on crash risk. The two most important sub-groups that have been identified in the literature are single- and multi-vehicle crashes. Recently, some researchers have noted that developing two distinct models for these two categories of crashes provides better predicting performance than developing models combining both crash categories together. Thus, there is a need to determine whether a significant difference exists for the computation of confidence intervals when a single model is applied rather than two distinct models for single- and multi-vehicle crashes. Building confidence intervals have many important applications in highway safety. This paper investigates the effect of modeling single- and multi-vehicle (head-on and rear-end only) crashes separately versus modeling them together on the prediction of confidence intervals of Poisson-gamma models. Confidence intervals were calculated for total (all severities) crash models and fatal and severe injury crash models. The data used for the comparison analysis were collected on Texas multilane undivided highways for the years 1997-2001. This study shows that modeling single- and multi-vehicle crashes separately predicts larger confidence intervals than modeling them together as a single model. This difference is much larger for fatal and injury crash models than for models for all severity levels. Furthermore, it is found that the single- and multi-vehicle crashes are not independent. Thus, a joint (bivariate) model which accounts for correlation between single- and multi-vehicle crashes is developed and it predicts wider confidence intervals than a univariate model for all severities. Finally, the simulation results show that separate models predict values that are closer to the true confidence intervals, and thus this research supports previous studies that recommended modeling single- and multi-vehicle crashes separately for analyzing highway segments.

published proceedings

  • Accid Anal Prev

author list (cited authors)

  • Geedipally, S. R., & Lord, D.

citation count

  • 82

complete list of authors

  • Geedipally, Srinivas Reddy||Lord, Dominique

publication date

  • March 2010