Highway safety assessment through geographic information system-based data visualization

Aemal J. Khattak, Huda Shamayleh

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

51 Scopus citations


This paper describes a new method of safety assessment of highway stopping and passing sight distances. Topographic data were collected by flying a plane equipped with a light detection and ranging (LiDAR) system on a section of two-lane rural highway. The collected data were manipulated in a geographic information system (GIS) to obtain three-dimensional models of the various highway subsections. These models were visually analyzed to check for stopping and passing sight distances, thus narrowing the list of locations with potential safety issues. Subsequent line-of-sight analysis in a GIS indicated the presence of several obstructions, prompting a field visit for validation. Field inspection of the locations verified the presence of the obstructions detected during the analysis. Overall, this research indicated the viability of successful visualization of LiDAR data for highway sight distance evaluations and is indicative of LiDAR's potential for highway safety-related applications. Comments on the resources needed to embrace this technology and future research improvements are part of the paper.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)407-411
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Computing in Civil Engineering
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 2005


  • Data collection
  • Geographic information systems
  • Highway safety
  • Imaging techniques
  • Sight distances

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Computer Science Applications


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