Injury outcomes and costs for cross-median and median barrier crashes

J Safety Res. 2011 Apr;42(2):87-92. doi: 10.1016/j.jsr.2011.01.006. Epub 2011 Mar 12.


Introduction: The objective of this research was to quantify the injury outcomes and develop reliable and comprehensive injury costs for cross-median crashes (CMC) and median barrier crashes (MBC).

Method: A three-step methodology was developed to quantify the crash costs for each crash severity and type. All CMC and MBC between 2001 and 2007 in Wisconsin were identified and used in this analysis. The Wisconsin CODES database provided comprehensive injury costs based on the injury types and severities suffered by participants in study crashes.

Results: As expected, multi-vehicle CMC result in more total injuries and more severe injuries than single-vehicle CMC. Injury costs for the same injury level on KABCO scale are different for different crash types. Injury costs for concrete MBC are 33% to 50% less than those of multi-vehicle CMC, while the injury costs of concrete MBC for lower severities (B and C) are similar to those of single-vehicle CMC for the same severities; but for incapacitating injuries the costs are 30% less. As expected, concrete MBC result in lower severities than CMC. The costs, by crash severity, vary significantly between different crash types. Concrete median barrier injury crashes are roughly 20% of multi-vehicle CMC costs and 50% of single-vehicle CMC costs.

Conclusions: Results indicate that using one set of crash costs for all crash types biases any evaluation. Therefore, it is recommended that crash-type-specific costs be used in applications such as development of median barrier warrant where specific types of crashes are considered (CMC and MBC).

Impact on industry: Using crash specific costs can lead to a more realistic benefit-cost analysis and enable better decision-making.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Accidents, Traffic / classification*
  • Accidents, Traffic / economics*
  • Accidents, Traffic / mortality
  • Accidents, Traffic / trends
  • Databases, Factual
  • Humans
  • Outcome Assessment, Health Care*
  • Trauma Severity Indices
  • Wisconsin / epidemiology
  • Wounds and Injuries / economics*