Congestion and safety: a spatial analysis of London

2009-09-10T15:25:35Z (GMT) by Robert B. Noland Mohammed Quddus
A disaggregate spatial analysis, using enumeration district data for London was conducted with the aim of examining how congestion may affect traffic safety. It has been hypothesized that while congested traffic conditions may increase the number of vehicle crashes and interactions, their severity is normally lower than crashes under uncongested free flowing conditions. This is primarily due to the slower speeds of vehicles when congestion is present. Our analysis uses negative binomial count models to examine whether factors affecting casualties (fatalities, serious injuries and slight injuries) differed during congested time periods as opposed to uncongested time periods. We also controlled for congestion spatially using a number of proxy variables and estimated pedestrian casualty models since a large proportion of London casualties are pedestrians. Results are not conclusive. Our results suggest that road infrastructure effects may interact with congestion levels such that in London any spatial differences are largely mitigated. Some small differences are seen between the models for congested versus uncongested time periods, but no conclusive trends can be found. Our results lead us to suspect that congestion as a mitigator of crash severity is less likely to occur in urban conditions, but may still be a factor on higher speed roads and motorways.