According to the study made by United Nation Economic Commission for Africa, Ethiopia stands as one of the worst countries with respect to road safety performance in terms of traffic accident fatalities per 10,000 vehicles (i.e. 95 in 2007/8). Road safety generally depends on humans, vehicles, and highway conditions. These factors influence road safety separately or in combination. One of the basic means to improve road safety is to reduce hazardous conditions of roads. The main objective of this study is to identify and rank hazardous locations and propose appropriate simple and inexpensive countermeasures along Hawassa-Shashemene-Bulbula main two-lane rural road. Accordingly, the road and traffic data were collected from field investigation and Ethiopian Road Authority and accident data were gathered from police stations. Then, the study road equally divided into short sections of 1.5 km and traffic volume and accident frequencies assigned for each road site to predict theoretical frequencies of accident. Empirical Bayes method and Safety Performance Function have been used to estimate an index known as Potential for Safety Improvement (PSI) for each site of the study area to identify and rank road sites. The result showed that out of 43 road segments 22 of them were identified as dangerous road segments. Moreover, based on further criterion established for screening the ranked road sections 8 road segments were found the most dangerous road segments as they have contributed 76% of total PSI values. The degree of haphazardness of a given road segment in the study area has directly associated with the availability of risk indicating road and traffic factors. Finally, it recommends that regulatory body of road safety in the study area should give high priority and immediate response for the improvement of most dangerous road segments.
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