Date of Award

January 2017

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Geography & Geographic Information Science

First Advisor

Christopher J. Atkinson


Snowfall presents a hazard to drivers by reducing visibility and increasing safe stopping distances. As a result, some drivers cancel trips if snowfall is occurring or forecasted, and traffic volumes often decrease on snowy days. Lake-effect snow is very localized and is thus hypothesized to have a lesser influence on traffic volume than synoptic-scale snow, which usually covers a broader areal extent. Traffic volume in northeast Ohio and northern Indiana is studied using a matched-pair analysis to determine if volumes differ between lake-effect and synoptic-scale snowfall in these regions. While little statistical evidence is found to support this hypothesis, other relationships are discovered: lake-effect traffic volume is shown to be dependent in part on distance from the lake and population density of the surrounding area. Other trends relating traffic volume to time-of-day and accident patterns are also explored. Findings presented herein can assist in transportation planning, risk analysis, and roadway safety.