Pacific Southwest Region 9 UTC

NAU Student Samuel Taylor Completes Research on Freight Vehicle Collisions on I-10 Corridor

Saturday, October 7, 2017 - 10:38pm

By Prithvi Deore. MPL, Transportation, 2018


Samuel Taylor is a Master of Science in Civil Engineering candidate at Northern Arizona University (NAU). His main area of focus is transportation and has particular interest in transportation safety. He recently completed a paper on the factors affecting freight vehicle collisions on the Interstate-10 corridor.

His research paper," A Comparative Analysis of Factors Affecting the Frequency and Severity of Freight-Involved and All-Vehicle Crashes on a Major Freight Corridor Freeway," was jointly written with Dr. Brendan J. Russo (Assistant Professor at NAU) and Emmanuel James (B.A.Sc., Civil Engineering student at NAU). Funding for this research was provided in part by the Arizona Board of Regents (ABOR).

Taylor selected the I-10 corridor between the ports of Los Angeles and Houston as the study site as it is one of the most vital links for goods movement across the United States and the safety and mobility along this freeway, particularly for freight traffic, are of significant concern.  Taylor credits the Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT) as the source of data on reported crashes in Arizona from 2010 through 2015 and of geometric and traffic volume data, specifically from ADOT’s Multimodal Planning Division (MPD).

Two different models were used for the analysis - Crash Frequency Model – Negative Binomial Regression, which estimates the effects that environmental and geometric characteristics have on the frequency of crashes and Crash Severity Analysis – Ordered Logit Model, which estimates the effects that geometric, incident, person, and vehicle characteristics have on the severity of crashes.  Because of the variability of crash data, Taylor considered random effects in the negative binomial model and considered random parameters in the ordered logit.

Taylor concluded that geometric characteristics such as median width, shoulder width and number of lanes were generally less significant for freight-involved crashes than all-vehicle crashes. Both high (i.e. >80ft.) and low (i.e. <39ft.) median widths indicated a decrease in crash frequency for all-vehicle crashes. His results also revealed that dust storm crashes were significant in the severity of freight-involved crashes but not all-vehicle crashes.

Taylor’s study suggests agencies should focus on education, and enforcement in addition to emerging Intelligent Transportation System engineering changes in order to improve safety and efficiency on the I-10, especially for freight vehicles. Variable speed limits, dynamic lane control, and driver assistance technology such as lane departure and collision warning systems are all recommended to reduce crashes.

In addition to his studies and research, Taylor is actively involved in NAU's ITE chapter, and is now the president. "I am personally working on creating a new webpage for our group and I expect us to be more active than ever this year,” he shared.  “We also competed in the ITE western district student traffic bowl for the first time ever and finished in third place out of 9 other competing schools." Taylor is also a member of the graduate student government. While the Vice President of Legislative Affairs he attended all Arizona Board or Regents meetings, met with the president of the university, and advocated in Washington DC on behalf of all graduate students. This year he will be the Director of Events and I will be heading up all social and formal activities for the group.

Regarding his upcoming research, "I am starting several new projects, one on evaluating the safety impact of inlaid pavement markings and one investigating factors related to parked vehicle crashes on highways.  My main goal for the future is to learn and experience as much as I can while making a positive impact on my surrounding environment."

METRANS congratulates Samuel Taylor on his achievements and wishes him best for his future endeavors!

About the Author: Prithvi Deore

Prithvi Deore is a second year Master of Planning student at USC’s Price School of Public Policy and interning at Southern California Association of Governments. She is interested in active transportation and mass transit. She loves to do extensive GIS mapping and spatial analysis. She can be reached at


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