The effects of roadway characteristics on farm equipment crashes: a geographic information systems approach
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The effects of roadway characteristics on farm equipment crashes: a geographic information systems approach

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  • Alternative Title:
    Inj Epidemiol
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    Tractors and other slow-moving self-propelled farm equipment are often used on public roadway to transfer goods from the farm to a market or distributer. Increased roadway exposure has led to a growing concern on the occurrence of farm equipment crashes. This study aims to compare characteristics of road segments with farm equipment crashes to road segments without farm equipment crashes in the state of Iowa.


    Data were obtained from the Iowa Department of Transportation from 2005 to 2011 on all crashes involving farm equipment, and features of all Iowa roadways. Geographic Information Systems (GIS) was used to identify geospatial features, such as road type, speed limit, traffic volume surface type, road and shoulder width of where a crash occurred. Logistic regression models were used to measure the associations between road characteristics and the occurrence of farm equipment crashes. Crude and adjusted odds ratios and 95% confidence intervals were reported.


    A total of 1371 farm equipment crashes were reported in Iowa over the 6-year period and geocoded onto a street location. As traffic volume increased, the odds of a crash occurring also increased. Roadways with posted speed limits between 50 and 60 mph were associated with a higher odds of having crashes on them compared to roadways with speeds less than 35 mph (OR = 8.05, 95% CI: 6.59–9.84). Iowa routes (OR = 5.98, 95% CI: 4.97–7.20) had the highest odds of having crashes compared to local routes. Increased road width (OR = 0.90, 95% CI: 0.86–0.94) was associated with a 10% decrease in the odds of a crash.


    Higher traffic volume, higher posted speed limits, road type, and smaller road widths were associated with the occurrence of farm equipment crashes. Findings from this study can be used to guide policy to improve roadway design and conditions for all road users.

    Electronic supplementary material

    The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s40621-016-0096-1) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.

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