Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Science in Engineering


Civil and Construction Engineering

First Advisor

Valerian Kwigizile, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Jun-Seok Oh, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Ron Van Houten, Ph.D.


Crashes, equity, nighttime, pedestrian, safety

Access Setting

Masters Thesis-Open Access


For the past eleven years (2011 - 2021) in Michigan, 76 percent of all fatal pedestrian crashes occurred at night. Over the same period, about 36 percent of pedestrian nighttime crashes were fatal or incapacitating (KA), while only 25 percent of daytime pedestrian crashes were fatal or incapacitating (KA). Previous studies suggest that, overall, poor neighborhoods and racial minorities are associated with more pedestrian crashes. With more fatal and incapacitating pedestrian crashes occurring at night, it is imperative to examine how these crashes are distributed by economic status and racial makeup. Therefore, this study aims to investigate the racial and poverty status disparities associated with pedestrian nighttime crashes. Pedestrian nighttime crashes from 2011 to 2021 were aggregated at a census tract level. Sociodemographic data, traffic volume, and built environment data were included at a census tract level. The negative binomial model was used to identify whether racial makeup and economic status of census tracts are associated with the increase in pedestrian nighttime crashes. Results show that census tracts with the majority of black people are associated with a 20 percent increase in pedestrian nighttime crashes. Also, poor tracts are associated with a 40 percent increase in pedestrian nighttime crashes. A further analysis was done to compare different race and poverty status groups in terms of infrastructure, sociodemographic data, and crash characteristics using the southeast Michigan area as a case study. It was revealed that crashes recorded by police officers as “dark unlighted” are concentrated in poor census tracks. Also, dark unlighted crashes were concentrated in majority Black compared to majority White tracts. Recommendations for lighting improvements are discussed for both midblock crosswalks and intersections. Findings from this study can be used by transportation planners and agencies when working to eliminate or reduce pedestrian nighttime crashes and improve safety in general.