Factors Affecting Road Safety: A Review and Future Research Direction

Understanding the risk factors affecting road accidents is an important area in road safety research. This paper provides a summary and overview of those factors, as well as road safety theories that explain how and why these factors affect road traffic accidents. This provides the road safety community with a better understanding of road accidents and aids in developing suitable methods and policies for road safety improvement. Road safety analysts could use the findings from this research as a marker as to the important risk factors that need to be controlled for while developing accident prediction models so as to reduce the impact of omitted variable bias. Several factors most notably: speed, traffic density, flow, congestion, demographics (namely age gender and deprivation), driving behaviour (involving alcohol consumption, helmet or seat belt usage) and land use, such as residential or economic zones, were found to have mixed effects on road safety and need further examination. In addition, factors relating to the environment, in particular lighting, road surface and weather conditions need to be explored. Future research directions on the effect of risk factors are also developed such as improving the quality of data and developing causal relationships. There is also a need to further investigate issues such as the effect of speed on road accidents, whether curvature improves road safety, the use of more sophisticated statistical models so as to better understand the effects of risk factors on road accidents and the utilisation of naturalistic driving data in accident analysis.

Read more: https://trid.trb.org/view/1129330