Masters Theses

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science


Civil Engineering

Major Professor

Asad J. Khattak

Committee Members

Christopher Cherry, Lee D. Han


Vulnerable Road user safety is a leading issue in the effort to create safer driving environment and reduce the instances of crashes on the roadways. The research approach here is to conduct an in-depth descriptive analysis of pedestrian and bicyclist pre-incident behaviors and evasive maneuvers in near-miss or crash-like situations and to seek an understanding of how different driving behaviors put these road users at risk. By analysing naturalistic driving data from the 2nd Strategic Highway Research Program (SHRP-2), the pre-incident maneuvers of both drivers are analysed to determine the risk factors of each maneuver to other road users, in comparison to a baseline situation where no crashes were involved. Regarding the analysis, two event scenarios of vehicle-to-vehicle situations and, pedestrians and cyclists involved situations, were identified as main categories of interest to create a more in-depth representation of the risk factors of specific driving maneuvers. These two categories were compared to a baseline scenario where no crashes or near-misses occurred. From the observed descriptive statistics, it can be inferred that unsafe and/or illegal maneuvers increase the instance of crash like events, these values increased from a baseline proportion, of a combined total of 7%, to making-up 17% of PedBike involved events, and 26% of vehicle-to-vehicle events. The proportions can further be broken down for the baseline as 2% safe but illegal, 4% unsafe and illegal, and 1% unsafe but legal. For PedBike involved events we have a breakdown of 1% safe but illegal, 11% unsafe and illegal, and 5% unsafe but legal. Finally, in the instance of vehicle only involved events the breakdown of the proportions is represented as 1% safe but illegal, 16% unsafe and illegal, and 9% unsafe but legal. What the findings suggests is that each driving maneuver requires a certain level of awareness in response to many environmental factors to ensure a safe outcome at the end of the maneuver. This study therefore stresses the importance of driver awareness in successfully initiating and executing all driving maneuvers for the safest possible outcome for pedestrians, cyclists and other drivers.

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