Completed 2017 Research Project

Completing the picture of traffic injuries: Understanding data needs and opportunities for road safety

Principal Investigator
Chris Cherry
University of Tennessee, Knoxville
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Eric Dumbaugh
Florida Atlantic University
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Louis Merlin
Florida Atlantic University
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David R. Ragland
University of California, Berkeley
(David Ragland passed away in May 2023; read more about him here)
Laura Sandt
University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
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Full Report

Project Slide Deck

Project Datasets

Research Brief


In this study, we introduced a new approach to evaluate road safety that focuses on the home address of individuals (i.e., home-based approach) who were directly involved in traffic crashes instead of the location of the crashes (location-based approach). While LBA explores the geographical distribution of traffic crashes by focusing on the location of traffic crashes, HBA considers the socioeconomics associated with the location of the person involved in the crash. This approach could be used to explore the road safety disparities by considering the factors surrounding home-address of the crash victims.

Comparing of the metropolitan areas exhibited the spatial variation in both approaches’ crash rate. The LBA crash rate could be attributed to the activity and infrastructure quality in each metropolitan area. In addition to the activity and infrastructure quality, HBA crash rate also reflects the safety culture. The difference in the safety culture (e.g., drunk driving, seatbelts) of residents of different metropolitans could be investigated in future studies.

In this study, we used GWPR model to address the unobserved heterogeneity in both approaches. The difference between model specifications in HBA and LBA and weak correlation between crash frequency and crash rate in both approaches demonstrated the merits of HBA as a complementary solution in addition to the LBA method as an index to evaluate road safety and identify areas where their residents have a higher likelihood of involvement in traffic crashes.

GWPR model findings indicate that residents who live in the neighborhoods with higher income, higher white race population, more use of an active mode of transportation are less likely to be involved in a traffic crash. Proper safety campaigns could be used to address the safety concerns in the HBA hotspots, particularly by focusing on behavioral interventions that contribute to higher crash risk and injury burden (e.g., speeding). HBA may also be used in road safety campaign design as a solution to prioritize neighborhoods for allocating educational resources.


Project Details

Project Type: Research
Project Status: Completed
Start Date: 3-1-2017
End Date: 11-30-2018
Contract Year: Year 1
Total Funding from CSCRS: $220,000
Co-sponsors:  MacArthur Foundation Endowment
Collaborating Organizations: Florida Atlantic University; University of California, Berkeley; University of Tennessee, Knoxville; University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill