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This study investigates the drivers’ merging behavior and the rear-end crash risk in work zone merging areas during the entire merging implementation period from the time of starting a merging maneuver to that of completing the maneuver. With the merging traffic data from a work zone site in Singapore, a mixed probit model is developed to describe the merging behavior, and two surrogate safety measures including the time to collision ( TTC ) and deceleration rate to avoid the crash ( DRAC ) are adopted to compute the rear-end crash risk between the merging vehicle and its neighboring vehicles. Results show that the merging vehicle has a bigger probability of completing a merging maneuver quickly under one of the following situations: ( i ) the merging vehicle moves relatively fast; ( ii ) the merging lead vehicle is a heavy vehicle; and ( iii ) there is a sizable gap in the adjacent through lane. Results indicate that the rear-end crash risk does not monotonically increase as the merging vehicle speed increases. The merging vehicle's rear-end crash risk is also affected by the vehicle type. There is a biggest increment of rear-end crash risk if the merging lead vehicle belongs to a heavy vehicle. Although the reduced remaining distance to work zone could urge the merging vehicle to complete a merging maneuver quickly, it might lead to an increased rear-end crash risk. Interestingly, it is found that the rear-end crash risk could be generally increased over the elapsed time after the merging maneuver being triggered.

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Journal Article

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