Completing the Picture of Traffic Injuries

R4: Completing the Picture of Traffic Injuries: Understanding Data Needs and Opportunities for road Safety

Research Team

Principal Investigator
Chris Cherry
University of Tennessee, Knoxville

Eric Dumbaugh
Florida Atlantic University

Louis Merlin
Florida Atlantic University

David R. Ragland
University of California, Berkeley

Laura Sandt
University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

Funding Organization

Collaborative Sciences Center for Road Safety (CSCRS)


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.Exhibit 1 map outlining the Complete Picture

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.


Learn more about this project on the CSCRS website.