Pre-crash and non-crash traffic flow trends analysis on motorways

Asso Hamzehei, Edward Chung, Marc Miska

Research output: Unpublished conference presentation (presented paper, abstract, poster)Conference presentation (not published in journal/proceeding/book)Academic researchpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Crashes that occur on motorways contribute to a significant proportion (40-50%) of non-recurrent motorway congestions. Hence, reducing the frequency of crashes assists in addressing congestion issues (Meyer, 2008). Crash likelihood estimation studies commonly focus on traffic conditions in a short time window around the time of a crash while longer-term pre-crash traffic flow trends are neglected. In this paper we will show, through data mining techniques that a relationship between pre-crash traffic flow patterns and crash occurrence on motorways exists. We will compare them with normal traffic trends and show this knowledge has the potential to improve the accuracy of existing models and opens the path for new development approaches. The data for the analysis was extracted from records collected between 2007 and 2009 on the Shibuya and Shinjuku lines of the Tokyo Metropolitan Expressway in Japan. The dataset includes a total of 824 rear-end and sideswipe crashes that have been matched with crashes corresponding to traffic flow data using an incident detection algorithm. Traffic trends (traffic speed time series) revealed that crashes can be clustered with regards to the dominant traffic patterns prior to the crash. Using the K-Means clustering method with Euclidean distance function allowed the crashes to be clustered. Then, normal situation data was extracted based on the time distribution of crashes and were clustered to compare with the "high risk" clusters. Five major trends have been found in the clustering results for both high risk and normal conditions. The study discovered traffic regimes had differences in the speed trends. Based on these findings, crash likelihood estimation models can be fine-tuned based on the monitored traffic conditions with a sliding window of 30 minutes to increase accuracy of the results and minimize false alarms.

Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2013
Externally publishedYes
Event36th Australasian Transport Research Forum, ATRF 2013 - Brisbane, Australia
Duration: 2 Oct 20134 Oct 2013


Conference36th Australasian Transport Research Forum, ATRF 2013


  • Clustering
  • Motorway crashes
  • Risky and normal traffic
  • Traffic flow regimes
  • Traffic flow trends

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Transportation


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