Effects of the International Roughness Index and Rut Depth on Crash Rates

Michael Mamlouk, Mounica Vinayakamurthy, B. Shane Underwood, Kamil Kaloush

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Pavement distresses directly affect ride quality, and indirectly contribute to driver distraction, vehicle operation, and accidents. In this study, analysis was performed on highways in the states of Arizona, North Carolina, and Maryland to investigate the relationship between accident rate and pavement ride quality (roughness) and rut depth. Two main types of data were collected: crash data from the accident records and International Roughness Index (IRI) and rut depth data from the pavement management system database in each state. Crash rates were calculated using the U.S. Department of Transportation method, which is the number of accidents per 100 million vehicle-miles of travel. Sigmoidal function regression analysis was performed to study the relationship between crash rate and both IRI and rut depth. In all cases, the crash rate did not show substantial increases until an IRI value of 210 inches/mile or a critical rut depth of 0.4 inches. When the IRI or rut depth increased above these values the crash rate increased. This is a key conclusion that provides empirically derived thresholds for IRI and rut depth to reducing the accident rate.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)418-429
Number of pages12
JournalTransportation Research Record
Issue number40
StatePublished - Dec 1 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Mechanical Engineering


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