Determining Vehicle Operating Speed and Lateral Position Along Horizontal Curves Using Linear Mixed-Effects Models

Eric J. Fitzsimmons, Vanessa Kvam, Reginald R. Souleyrette, Shashi S. Nambisan, Douglas G. Bonett

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


Objective: Despite recent improvements in highway safety in the United States, serious crashes on curves remain a significant problem. To assist in better understanding causal factors leading to this problem, this article presents and demonstrates a methodology for collection and analysis of vehicle trajectory and speed data for rural and urban curves using Z-configured road tubes.Methods: For a large number of vehicle observations at 2 horizontal curves located in Dexter and Ames, Iowa, the article develops vehicle speed and lateral position prediction models for multiple points along these curves. Linear mixed-effects models were used to predict vehicle lateral position and speed along the curves as explained by operational, vehicle, and environmental variables. Behavior was visually represented for an identified subset of "risky" drivers.Results: Linear mixed-effect regression models provided the means to predict vehicle speed and lateral position while taking into account repeated observations of the same vehicle along horizontal curves.Conclusions: Speed and lateral position at point of entry were observed to influence trajectory and speed profiles. Rural horizontal curve site models are presented that indicate that the following variables were significant and influenced both vehicle speed and lateral position: time of day, direction of travel (inside or outside lane), and type of vehicle.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)309-321
Number of pages13
JournalTraffic Injury Prevention
Issue number3
StatePublished - Feb 2013


  • horizontal curve
  • linear mixed-effects model
  • pneumatic road tubes
  • speed profile
  • traffic safety
  • trajectory

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Safety Research
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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