Determining risk-based safety thresholds through naturalistic driving patterns using trajectory data on expressways

Narayana Raju, Pallav Kumar, Shriniwas Arkatkar, Gaurang Joshi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)


The present research work is initiated, probing for safety levels, evolving as an outcome of analysis of micro-level interactions due to naturalistic vehicular movements on Indian expressways. The research work reported here, devised a micro-level parameter, namely instant perception time (IPT) as a safety measure, which is a function of vehicular interactions. As a step towards deriving IPT, video-graphic surveys were conducted and traffic data was collected on two intercity Indian expressways. As a part of this work, first microscopic trajectory data was developed for capturing naturalistic driving behavior under heterogeneous traffic environment. Thereafter, hysteresis plots were developed between leader-follower pairs using relative speed and spacing between the vehicles. By means of the developed hysteresis plots, a novel approach for identification and quantifying chances of rear-end crashes using follower's Instantaneous perception time (IPT), is proposed in the present study. To study the IPT approach under different flow conditions, well-calibrated and validated simulation model is also developed using real trajectory data collected for the prevailing traffic conditions observed on the study sections. From the obtained IPTs using simulation model, three cluster ranges are delineated pertaining to different levels of risks of crashes. The cluster-analysis suggests that the least values of space-headway (m) and IPT (s) (space headway < 10.91 m, IPT < 5.61 s) at a given location shows most severe chances of rear-end collision. While, lower to moderate values indicate (with thresholds: space headway in the range 10.91–18.5 m; IPT 5.61–11.91 s), whereas higher values of IPT (more than 12 s) suggest the least chances of rear-end collision. The methodological approach, results and findings thus developed under naturalistic driving environment, presented here can be very useful in understanding the operational deficiencies of traffic streams, road geometry, coupled with safety assessment of traffic streams on uninterrupted roadway facilities. Furthermore, traffic control or geometry improvement related decisions can also be taken at different unsafe locations using IPT as a risk measure to enhance safety.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)117-125
Number of pages9
JournalSafety Science
Publication statusPublished - 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • IPT
  • Indian traffic conditions
  • Road safety
  • Safety thresholds
  • Simulation


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