Risk Analysis

A Risk‐Based Method for Modeling Traffic Fatalities

Journal Article

  • Author(s): Kavi Bhalla, Majid Ezzati, Ajay Mahal, Joshua Salomon, Michael Reich
  • Article first published online: 13 Mar 2007
  • DOI: 10.1111/j.1539-6924.2006.00864.x
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We describe a risk‐based analytical framework for estimating traffic fatalities that combines the probability of a crash and the probability of fatality in the event of a crash. As an illustrative application, we use the methodology to explore the role of vehicle mix and vehicle prevalence on long‐run fatality trends for a range of transportation growth scenarios that may be relevant to developing societies. We assume crash rates between different road users are proportional to their roadway use and estimate case fatality ratios (CFRs) for the different vehicle‐vehicle and vehicle‐pedestrian combinations. We find that in the absence of road safety interventions, the historical trend of initially rising and then falling fatalities observed in industrialized nations occurred only if motorization was through car ownership. In all other cases studied (scenarios dominated by scooter use, bus use, and mixed use), traffic fatalities rose monotonically. Fatalities per vehicle had a falling trend similar to that observed in historical data from industrialized nations. Regional adaptations of the model validated with local data can be used to evaluate the impacts of transportation planning and safety interventions, such as helmets, seat belts, and enforcement of traffic laws, on traffic fatalities.

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