Analysis of work zone gaps and rear-end collision probability

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This paper studies platooning and headway/gap characteristics of traffic flow in highway short-term and long-term work zones under various car-following patterns. The relationship between traffic volume and the percentage of vehicles in platoons is developed, along with some statistical models for platoon size and headway/gap size distribution. An in-depth analysis of data reveals that vehicles in work zones with higher speed limits maintain shorter car-following time gaps than those in work zones with lower speed limits, even though more time is needed to stop a faster vehicle. This unusual combination of higher speeds and shorter car-following time gaps in work zones may contribute to the high proportion of rear-end collisions among all work zone-related accidents. This paper also presents a new method for evaluating rear-end collision potential, including the probability and the number of vehicles involved in rear-end collisions, by analyzing platoon and gap characteristics for locations without crash records during a construction period.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)71-86
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Transportation and Statistics
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2005


  • Car-following patterns
  • Platoons
  • Rear-end collisions
  • Work zones

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Statistics and Probability
  • Transportation


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