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Parking-Related Crash Characteristics

PARKING LOTS ARE OFTEN A confusing environment with unclear speed parking lots were investigated limits or trafc rules.1 Although parking lots are an important feature of the and the signicant risk transportation infrastructure, not much is known about their safety issues. Due to factors related to the trafc low speeds, crashes at parking lots are often less severe than others, but result in high environment, driver, and vehicle numbers of property damage only (PDO) crashes. As cited by Retting et al.,2 parking were identied using logistic lot crashes constitute about one-fth of all low-speed urban crashes. This type of crash regression models. The study is different from a typical roadway crash. These crashes have been rarely addressed in found that crashes at parking the road safety literature, possibly because of their less severe nature. lots are more likely to occur According to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, while the drivers vision is 15,818 crashes in Florida in 2007 (about 6.9 percent of total crashes) occurred at obstructed by building/xed parking lots. The factors we analyzed include characteristics of a crash event, objects, with a parked car, and driver information, and vehicle characteristics. Distributions of some of the factors while backing the vehicle. associated with parking lot crashes are presented in Figure 1. The logistic regression model is widely used in road safety studies where the dependent variable is binary.3,4 Multivariate logistic models were considered suitable for this analysis because they estimate the probability of an event occurring or not (i.e., dichotomous response) by testing the association between the binary response variable and signicant predictors. To assess the effect of a unit increment of any predictor, odds ratios (ORs) were calculated. Because most of the factors were BY CHOWDHURY SIDDIQUI, M.S., PH.D., MOHAMED ABDEL-ATY, categorical variables with different levels, P.E., PH.D., AND TAHERA ANJUMAN, M.S., E.I.T. one of the levels for each categorical variable was considered as a reference level in the estimation. The effects of the signicant factors for parking lot crashes were studied by examining the odds ratios against the reference case. The location of the crashes was modeled

Characteristics of crashes at

using an oversampled dataset; if the crash occurred at a parking lot (public/private) the variable had a value of 1; otherwise, it had a value of 0 (Model I). Using a separated dataset, crashes at public parking lots were modeled considering a value of 1 if the crash occurred at a public parking lot (about 57 percent) and 0 if it occurred at a private parking lot (Model II). The places where anyone could park their vehicles were dened as public parking lots, for example, at shopping malls. Private parking lots were the lots owned by private entities, but did not include driveways of individual homes.

Model I: Parking Lot Crash Characteristics Driver characteristics Four driver attributes were investigated in this study: age, gender, race, and alcohol/drug use. All of these characteristics except alcohol/drug use were found to be signicant in the model. Drivers were grouped by age in 10year intervals. The propensity of drivers other than young drivers (less than 26 years old) to be involved in a crash in a parking lot increased with age. Relative to drivers younger than 26 years old, the likelihood of a crash was highest for people older than 75 years (OR = 2.06), followed by the age group 6675 (OR = 1.544), then the age group 5665 (OR = 1.287). A study by Stamatiadis et al.5 also found that older drivers are overinvolved in parking lot crashes. Non-white drivers of races other than Hispanic or black had a 19.5 percent higher chance of being involved in a parking lot crash than white drivers. This could also be related to tourists, who are common in Florida. The model showed that the likelihood of crashes for Hispanic drivers was 23.4 percent less than for white drivers. This outcome indicates that the Hispanic drivers drive more carefully in parking lots than white drivers.





Figure 1. Distribution of (a) types of crashes, (b) vehicle types, (c) age, and (d) lighting condition, involved in crashes at parking lots.

The results showed that drivers gender had a signicant impact on the probability of parking lot crashes. Female drivers were about 23 percent more likely to be involved in these crashes than male drivers. Laapotti and Keskinen1 found that the odds of having a reversing/backed into crash among female drivers were 1.4 times the odds among male drivers. Use of alcohol and most drugs potentially decreases drivers decision-making ability and impairs vision. Also it reduces alertness and leads to mistakes that may result in crashes. Interestingly, this factor was found to be insignicant at the 95 percent condence level when considered as a covariate in the nal model. However, this factor was kept in the model for two reasons: A) the stepwise selection procedure in the logistic model building procedure considered this factor to be

signicant to be entered in the model even at the 95 percent condence level, and B) alcohol/drug inuence has been widely recognized as an important risk factor for crashes.4 Perhaps people driving under the inuence of alcohol and/or drugs are too careful at the beginning of the trip and their level of alertness decreases with time.

Road environment characteristics The effect of lighting conditions, vision obstruction, and weather conditions were found signicant for parking lot crashes. Crash propensity was 20.2 percent lower during dawn and dusk hours than during daytime. Crashes were more likely to occur while drivers vision is obstructed by buildings/xed objects than when drivers vision is not obstructed (OR = 5.802). Crash propensity was found to be about 80.2 percent higher when vision is ob-

structed by some other parked/stopped vehicle than when drivers vision is not obstructed. The possibility of a crash when vision is obstructed by trees/crops/ bushes was found to be about 1.6 times higher than when vision is unobstructed. It was interesting to nd that the odds ratio of crash propensity at parking lots during cloudy, rainy, or foggy weather was lower than in clear/good weather. Perhaps people drive more cautiously in inclement weather.

Vehicle and crash characteristics Among crash types, it was found that collision with a parked car and a crash while reversing a vehicle had a higher likelihood than rear-end crashes; and they were followed by collision with pedestrian and collision with xed object (all cases relative to the propensity of rear-end crashes).

Laapotti and Keskinen1 found that 70 percent of all backed into or reversing crashes between 1984 and 2000 took place in parking lots. The likelihood of right-angle crashes was 4.4 times greater than that of rear-end crashes, while the occurrence of left-angle crashes was 1.79 times higher than that of rear-end crashes. Only involvement of large vehicles (medium trucks, heavy trucks, and buses) was found signicant at the 95 percent condence level, with a 38.2 percent higher possibility of crashes compared to that of cars. It was found that PDO crashes had the highest likelihood in parking lots. Since the vehicles move at low speeds, greater severity is not expected in these types of crashes.

Model II: Crash Propensity at Public Parking Lots Six variables were found signicant in Model II at the 95 percent condence level. These variables were race, lighting condition, vehicle type, alcohol/drug use, injury severity, and crash type. Black drivers were almost 24 percent less likely to be involved in crashes at public parking lots than white drivers. Crash propensity for Hispanic drivers was about 21 percent less than that of white drivers. Occurrence of crashes in public parking lots of drivers under the inuence of drugs was about two times higher than for drivers who did not drink or use drugs. Drivers in public lots under the inuence of both alcohol and drugs were about 1.5 times more likely to have a crash than drivers who neither drank nor used drugs. Perhaps the restricted access to private parking lots diminishes the likelihood of alcohol and/or drug-related crashes. Private parking lots are also mostly utilized during the working hours and working days, when alcohol is less often used. Similar to the results from Model I, it was found that daylight hours have higher crash propensities than any other hours. This is reasonable because parking lots are mostly used during day hours. Therefore, vehicular movement is light during night hours, likely lowering crash probabilities. Among vehicle types, vans had a 12.5 percent higher crash propensity at public lots than cars.

Crashes resulting in fatalities were not signicant at the 95 percent condence level compared to PDO crashes. This is expected, due to low cruising speeds at parking lots. However, the possibility of a crash in a public lot resulting in injuries was 11.4 percent higher than PDO crashes, but this could be due to underreporting of PDO crashes. According to Model II, propensities for the left-angle crashes at public parking lots were found to be 21.1 percent higher compared to rear-end crashes, and the possibility was about 14 percent lower for right-angle crashes than for rear-end crashes at public parking lots. Crash propensity for collision with xed objects at public parking lots was 23.1 percent lower than that of rear-end crashes. Crash propensities for collision with parked car and collision with pedestrian at public lots were lower by about 14 percent and 16.3 percent, respectively, than that of rear-end crashes.

nalized Intersections Using Multiple Logistic Regression Model. Accident Analysis and Prevention, Vol. 37 (2005): 983995. 5. Stamatiadis, N., W.C. Taylor, and F.X. Mckelvey. Older Drivers and Intersection Trafc Control Device. Journal of Transportation Engineering, Vol. 117, No. 3 (1991): 311319.

CHOWDHURY SIDDIQUI, M.S., Ph.D. candidate, got his masters from the University of Central Florida and is currently working towards his doctoral degree in the Transportation Systems Engineering Track at the same university. His research emphasis is in the areas of trafc safety and transportation planning. MOHAMED ABDEL-ATY, P.E., Ph.D., is a professor of transportation engineering at the University of Central Florida (UCF). He is the program director of Safety and Operations at the Center for Advanced Transportation Systems Simulation at UCF. His main expertise and interest is in the areas of trafc safety, travel demand analysis, and ITS. Dr. Abdel-Aty is a leading trafc safety expert at both the national and international level. He has published more than 275 papers (140 in journals). In 2003 he was selected as UCFs Distinguished Researcher and in 2007 as UCFs Outstanding Graduate Teacher. Dr. Abdel-Aty is an Associate Editor of Accident Analysis and Prevention. He is a member of the editorial board of the ITS Journal. He is a registered professional engineer in Florida. TAHERA ANJUMAN, M.S., E.I.T., completed her M.S. in transportation engineering from Clemson University. Her research interests are in ITS and trafc operation. She holds a Lecturer position in the Department of Civil Engineering at Stamford University, Dhaka, Bangladesh.

Conclusion The main goal of this paper was to gain an insight into the risk factors inuencing crashes at parking lots. However, the analysis did not consider physical characteristics of parking lots and parking conguration due to the unavailability of data. For future studies, these factors could be included in the model and analyzed for better understanding of parking lot crashes. The results can contribute to better parking area design and signage, and driver education and awareness. References
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