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Geospatial Analysis of Rural Motor Vehicle Traffic Fatalities
Rajesh Subramaniam (ed)
In recent years, on average about 44% of traffic fatalities occurred in urban areas. The Nat. Highway and Traffic Safety Admin.’s (NHTSA) Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) codes the functional classification of land use by a binary indicator, i.e., if the location is a rural or urban area, as defined by the U.S. Census Bureau. However, given the vast area of rural land in the U.S., what is not known is where in those rural areas highway fatalities are occurring. It is of interest to law enforcement and highway safety planners involved in rural highway safety initiatives to quantify how many traffic fatalities occur in rural areas close to urban areas. Some of these communities in rural areas close to urban areas have significant commuting ties with these urban areas. Of considerable interest are rural areas close to urban areas (suburban, exurban) due to significant shifts in population in such areas. The focus of this report is to determine the extent of fatalities that occur in rural areas that are close to the urban areas using geospatial analysis that extends the binary reporting (rural versus urban) of roadway functional classification reported in FARS. Puerto Rico was not included in this analysis as FARS did not code latitude/longitude information for Puerto Rico in 2006. Also, while the subsequent sections include tabulated data for Alaska and Hawaii, these States are not depicted in the map due to technical issues. Figures.
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