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Uses of Census Data in Transportation


Community Design and Transportation Safety

Authors: Garrick, Norman University of Connecticut, Storrs-Center for Transportation and Urban Planning, 261 Glenbrook Road Storrs, CT 06269-2037 ; New England University Transportation Center-Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 77 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge, MA 0213


Publication Date: Mar 2011


The goal of this study was to assess how street network characteristics affect road safety. Using a spatial geographic information system (GIS) analysis together with a novel approach to classifying street network patterns, the research showed that both street network and street characteristics are significantly correlated with road safety outcomes. The basis for this analysis was over 230,000 individual crash records geo-coded in a GIS database in over 1000 census Block Groups in 24 California cities. In conducting this study, the authors controlled for variables such as street patterns, vehicle volumes, activity levels, income levels, and proximity to limited access highways and to the downtown area.

Subject Areas and Index Terms

Highways; Safety and Human Factors; I82: Accidents and Transport Infrastructure

Accident records; Cities; Communities; Geographic information systems; Highway safety; Streets; Traffic volume; California; Activity levels; Street patterns

Availability: New England University Transportation Center


Effect of Trauma Systems on Motor Vehicle Occupant Mortality: a Comparison Between States With and Without a Formal System

Authors: Shafi, Shahid; Nathens, Avery B; Elliott, Alan C; Gentilello, Larry

Journal of Trauma, Injury, Infection and Critical Care

Publication Date: Dec 2006


This article presents research that hypothesizes that a statewide trauma system (TS) independently contributes to a reduction in mortalities associated with motor vehicle injuries regardless of other factors (i.e., improvements to cars, roads, restraint systems, drunk driving rates). The authors use data from several federal agencies, including the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the United States Department of Transportation (DOT), and the United States Census Bureau. The research compares aggregate motor vehicle occupant death rates (MVO) per 100,000 population with states having and not having a TS in place. Results show that states having a TS increased from 7 (1981) to 36 (2002), while MVO death rates decreased by 2.6 per 100,000 population (for a 95% confidence interval). The authors note that while independent predictors of MVO mortality (e.g., income, primary seat belt laws, restraint system use, speed limits, rural/urban population distributions) are present, the presence of a TS is not. The authors conclude that while MVO death rates have decreased over time (and are lower in TS states), many factors are involved and cannot solely be attributed to TS presence. They acknowledge that more research is needed to more definitively identify the benefits of a statewide trauma system.

Subject Areas and Index Terms

Highways; Law; Passenger Transportation; Safety and Human Factors; Society; I83: Accidents and the Human Factor; I84: Personal Injuries

Confidence intervals; Crash injuries; Drunk driving; Fatalities; Federal government agencies; Human factors in accidents; Improvements; Injury rates; Laws and legislation; Motor vehicles; Network analysis (Planning); Population; Population movements; Rest

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Influence of Land Use, Population, Employment, and Economic Activity on Accidents

Authors: Kim, Karl; Brunner, I Made; Yamashita, Eric Y

Transportation Research Record: Journal of the Transportation Research Board

Publication Date: 2006


In this study, the relationships between land use, population, employment by sector, economic output, and motor vehicle accidents are explored. Through the use of comprehensive data from the largest county in Hawaii, the relationships are modeled in a uniform 0.1-mi² (0.259-km²) grid structure and with various linear regression models. This method has an advantage over other approaches that have typically used unevenly sized and shaped traffic analysis zones, census tracts, or block groups. Positive, statistically significant relationships among population, job counts, economic output, and accidents are identified. After some of the general effects are sorted through, a negative binomial (NB) model is used to look at the absolute and relative effects of these factors on the number of pedestrian, bicycle, vehicle-to-vehicle, and total accidents. With a multivariate model, the different effects can be compared and the specific nature of the relationships between zonal characteristics and accidents can be identified. While there is, in general, a significant relationship between all these values, the effects are more pronounced with vehicular crashes than with those involving pedestrians or bicyclists. In addition to the general effects, the influences of employment, economic development, and various activities on the level and type of accidents are investigated. Some challenges associated with modeling these relationships are described, as are implications for traffic safety research. The paper adds to the growing volume of traffic safety research integrating NB regression models and geographic information systems.

Subject Areas and Index Terms

Data and Information Technology; Economics; Highways; Safety and Human Factors; Society; I80: Accident Studies

Accident characteristics; Bicycle accidents; Economic development; Employment; Geographic information systems; Highway safety; Land use; Multivariate analysis; Pedestrian accidents; Population; Regression analysis; Traffic accidents; Traffic safety; Honol

Availability: Transportation Research Board Business Office

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Updated: 10/20/2015
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