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Mid-America Transportation Center

Mitigating Wind-Induced Truck Crashes

Final Report
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University of Kansas


  • Principal Investigator: Thomas Mulinazzi ( (785)864-2928)
  • Co-Principal Investigator: Steven Schrock ( (785) 864-3418)
  • Undergraduate Students
  • Cheryl Bornheimer
  • Kim Jackson
  • Matthew Hinshaw
  • Project Status
  • Start Date: 7/1/2008
  • End Date: 12/31/2009
  • Sponsors & Partners
  • Kansas Transportation Research and New Development Program
  • About this Project
    Brief Project Description & Background
    Working cooperatively with stakeholders, this research will identify specific highway corridors in Kansas prone to wind-induced truck crashes and will craft mitigation strategies to minimize such crash occurrences.
    Research Objective
    The objective for this research is provide increased safety for motor carriers traveling across Kansas, by reducing the likelihood of a wind induced crash. The research team will work in concert with the Kansas Department of Transportation, the National Weather Service, and the Kansas Highway Patrol, among other stakeholders to identify high risk corridors and subsequently be able to correlate wind advisories to roadway segments, and develop a framework for improving wind-related warnings to truck drivers for the forthcoming ITS system. Additional research will be conducted so as to differentiate at-risk vehicles based on profile and weight.
    Potential Benefits
    The benefits of this research include improving safety for motor carriers on highways in Kansas, and subsequently the safety for other vehicles sharing the road with motor carriers.road
    Dangerous weather and high wind in particular, is a common contributing factor in truck crashes. High wind speeds have been documented as a perennial cause of truck crashes in Kansas and other states in the Great Plains. The possibility of reducing such crashes, combined with the installation of dynamic message signs along Interstate 70, created an opportunity for further research. To this end, crash data were obtained from the Kansas Department of Transportation’s Accident Records System for all heavy vehicle crashes on I-70 that involved strong winds. The data were analyzed to determine the correlations between the vehicle and freight characteristics, crash occurrences and weather conditions. The goal of this analysis was to construct a model that could predict the likelihood of such wind induced truck crashes. Ideally, this model could furnish officials with a framework for preempting such crashes by imposing highway usage restrictions; thereby increasing safety for both truck drivers and the traveling public. After regressing the data into a model, however, it was found that wind speed was not a statistically significant factor in predicting such crashes. This finding agrees with some of the other literature on the subject and can be attributed to drivers altering their behavior as wind speeds change. From this research, we identified a dilemma zone of wind speeds in which drivers may not be making such a behavioral change. Furthermore, specific corridors in Kansas are identified as potential areas for the implementation of a warning system. It is recommended that Dynamic Message Signs be tied to weather data stations and/or lighted wind socks be installed on selected overpass bridge
    Total Project Cost
    $ 120,000