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A Comparison of Road Traffic Crashes along Mountainous and Non-Mountainous Roads in Sabah, Malaysia
Constrained topography and complex road geometry along rural mountainous roads often represent a demanding driving situation. As a result, traffic crashes along mountainous roads are likely to have different characteristics to crashes on roads in flatter areas; however, there is little research on this topic. The objective of this study is to examine the characteristics of road traffic crashes on rural mountainous roads and to compare these with the characteristics of crashes on non-mountainous roads. This paper explores and compares general crash characteristics including crash type, crash severity, roadway geometric features and environmental factors, and road user/vehicle characteristics. Five years of road traffic crash data (2008-2012) for Sabah were obtained from the Malaysian Institute of Road Safety Research. During this period, a total of 25,439 crashes occurred along federal roads in Sabah, of which 4,875 crashes occurred in mountainous areas. Categorical data analysis techniques were used to examine the differences between mountainous and non-mountainous crashes. Results show that the odds ratio of 'out-of-control' crashes and the crash involvement due to speeding are respectively about 4.2 times and 2.8 times higher on mountainous than non-mountainous roads. Other factors and crash characteristics that increase the odds of crashes along mountainous roads compared with non-mountainous roads include horizontal curved sections compared with straight sections, single-vehicle crashes compared with multi-vehicle crashes and weekend crashes compared with weekday crashes. This paper identifies some of the basic characteristics of crashes along rural mountainous roads to aid future research on traffic safety along mountainous roads.