Project 4.11: Safety Assessment of New England Roadways during the COVID-19 Pandemic

Safety Assessment of New England Roadways during the COVID-19 Pandemic

Project 4.11

Project Summary

Safety assessment of roadway facilities is a critical task to maintain the system operational efficiency of transportation infrastructure. The comprehensive stay-at-home orders implemented in response to the COVID-19 pandemic have resulted in massive reductions in traffic volumes, especially on major highways. Motorists have responded to these greatly reduced volumes by increasing their travel speeds; the result of this behavioral response has been an increase in the rate and incidence of fatal crashes. There is a clear DOT, industry, and agency need for recommendations to better plan and ameliorate impacts from another pandemic or other natural or human-caused disaster. Traffic data during the pandemic period represent characteristics that are not comparable to normal conditions. This project will employ an innovative approach to assemble traditional traffic volume data archived from permanent count stations along with Probe data sources collected by smart and connected technologies to investigate the safety consequences of the demand reduction and speed increases due to the pandemic shutdown for the New England roadway infrastructure. The proposed research plans to investigate the traffic volume and speeding data before, during and after the pandemic shutdown, analyze the crash data collected in two New England states, Maine and Connecticut, and provide recommendations to more efficiently and safely manage the highway network of New England roadways during disruptions to traffic demand caused by other unforeseen emergencies and disasters to traffic demand caused by other unforeseen emergencies and disasters.

Principal Investigator

Dr. Mohammadali Shirazi


University of Maine

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Office of the Assistant Secretary for Research and Technology, University Transportation Centers Program, Department of Transportation, University of Maine, Maine DOT.

Implementation of Research Outcomes:

This project is recently completed. Implementation of research outcomes will be reported as they become available.

Impacts and Benefits of Implementation:

This project is recently completed. Impacts and benefits of the research will be reported as they become available.

Printable Project Information Sheet

Project 4.11 Final Report

December 2020 Quarterly Progress Report

March 2021 Quarterly Progress Report

July 2021 Quarterly Progress Report

October 2021 Quarterly Progress Report

December 2021 Quarterly Progress Report

March 2022 Quarterly Progress Report

June 2022 Quarterly Progress Report

September 2022 Quarterly Progress Report