Applying a joint model of crash count and crash severity to identify road segments with high risk of fatal and serious injury crashes

Amir Pooyan Afghari, Md Mazharul Haque, Simon Washington

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

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Abstract

Both crash count and severity are thought to quantify crash risk at defined transport network locations (e.g. intersections, a particulate section of highway, etc.). Crash count is a measure of the likelihood of occurring a potential harmful event, whereas crash severity is a measure of the societal impact and harm to the society. As the majority of safety improvement programs are focused on preventing fatal and serious injury crashes, identification of high-risk sites—or blackspots—should ideally account for both severity and frequency of crashes. Past research efforts to incorporate crash severity into the identification of high-risk sites include multivariate crash count models, equivalent property damage only models and two-stage mixed models. These models, however, often require suitable distributional assumptions for computational efficiency, neglect the ordinal nature of crash severity, and are inadequate for capturing unobserved heterogeneity arising from possible correlations between crash counts of different severity levels. These limitations can ultimately lead to inefficient allocation of resources and misidentification of sites with high risk of fatal and serious injury crashes. Moreover, the implication of these models in blackspot identification is an important, unanswered question. While a joint econometric model of crash count and crash severity has the flexibility to account for the limitations mentioned previously, its ability to identify high-risk sites also needs to be examined. This study aims to fill this research gap by employing the joint model for blackspot identification. Using data from state-controlled roads in Queensland, Australia, a new risk score is developed based on predicted crash counts by severity, weighted by the cost ratio of severity levels. This weighted risk score is then used for identifying road segments with high risk of fatal and injury crashes. Results show that the joint model of crash count and crash severity has substantially improved prediction accuracy compared to the traditional count models. The correlation between crash counts of different severity levels captures the unobserved heterogeneity caused by the extra-variation in total crash counts and moderates the parameters in the joint model. In comparison with the traditional approaches, the proposed weighted risk score approach with the joint model of crash count and crash severity leads to the identification of a higher number of fatal and serious injury crashes in the top ranked sites flagged for safety improvements.

Original languageEnglish
Article number105615
JournalAccident Analysis and Prevention
Volume144
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2020

Keywords

  • Blackspot identification
  • Crash frequency
  • Crash severity
  • Fatal and serious injury crash
  • Grouped random parameters
  • Hotspot identification
  • Ordered logit fractional split

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