It is widely agreed that highway work zones pose significant threats to road users because driving conditions in work zones are quite different from the normal ones, particularly when traffic volumes approach a highway capacity. Therefore, work zone safety is a critical aspect for state agencies and traffic engineers.
In the current study, a total of 10,218 crashes that occurred in highway work zones in the state of Washington for the period between 2007 and 2013 were used. Time of day is disaggregated into four subgroups: (1) Morning from 6:00 to 11:00 a.m. (2) Midday from 12:00 to 5:00 p.m. (3) Night from 6:00 to 11:00 p.m., and (4) Late night from 12:00 to 5:00 a.m. Then, four mixed logit models were estimated to account and correct for heterogeneity in the crash data by considering three injury severity levels: severe injury, minor injury, and no injury.
The estimation results reveal that most contributing factors are uniquely significant in a specific time of day period, whereas three factors affect injury severity regardless of time of day such as the indicators of not deployed airbag, one passenger vehicle involved in the crash, and rear-end collision. Further, some factors were found to affect injury severity into two or three time periods, such as female drivers that found to decrease the probability of no injury in morning and night time periods, while increasing severe injury outcome in midday time.
The effect of time of day on injury severity of work-zone related crashes should be modeled separately rather than using a holistic model. Practical applications: As a starting point, findings of the current study can be used by transportation officials to reduce fatalities and injuries of work zone crashes by identifying factors that uniquely contribute to each time of day period.