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An optimizing approach for highway safety improvement programs

Ünal, Serter Ziya
Improvements to highway safety have become a high priority for highway authorities due to increasing public awareness and concern of the high social and economic costs of accidents. However, satisfying this priority in an environment of limited budgets is difficult. It is therefore important to ensure that the funding available for highway safety improvements is efficiently utilized. In attempt to maximize the overall highway safety benefits, highway professionals usually invoke an optimization process. The objective of this thesis study is to develop a model for the selection of appropriate improvements on a set of black spots which will provide the maximum reduction in the expected number of accidents (total return), subject to the constraint that the amount of money needed for the implementation of these improvements does not exceed the available budget. For this purpose, a computer program, BSAP (Black Spot Analysis Program) is developed. BSAP is comprised of two separate, but integrated programs: the User Interface Program (UIP) and the Main Analysis Program (MAP). The MAP is coded in MATLAB and contains the optimization procedure itself and performs all the necessary calculations by using a Binary Integer Optimization model. The UIP, coded in VISUAL BASIC, was used for monitoring the menu for efficient data preparation and providing a user-friendly environment.