The link between built environment, pedestrian activity and pedestrian-vehicle collision occurrence at signalized intersections

Accid Anal Prev. 2011 Sep;43(5):1624-34. doi: 10.1016/j.aap.2011.02.005. Epub 2011 Apr 22.


This paper studies the influence of built environment (BE) - including land use types, road network connectivity, transit supply and demographic characteristics - on pedestrian activity and pedestrian-vehicle collision occurrence. For this purpose, a two-equation modeling framework is proposed to investigate the effect of built environment on both pedestrian activity and vehicle-pedestrian collision frequency at signalized intersections. Using accident data of ambulance services in the City of Montreal, the applicability of our framework is illustrated. Different model settings were attempted as part of a model sensitivity analysis. Among other results, it was found that the BE in the proximity of an intersection has a powerful association with pedestrian activity but a small direct effect on pedestrian-vehicle collision frequency. This suggests that the impact of BE is mainly mediated through pedestrian activity. In other words, strategies that encourage densification, mix of land uses and increase in transit supply will increase pedestrian activity and may indirectly, with no supplementary safety strategies, increase the total number of injured pedestrians. In accordance with previous research, the number of motor vehicles entering a particular intersection is the main determinant of collision frequency. Our results show that a 30% reduction in the traffic volume would reduce the total number of injured pedestrians by 35% and the average risk of pedestrian collision by 50% at the intersections under analysis. Major arterials are found to have a double negative effect on pedestrian safety. They are positively linked to traffic but negatively associated with pedestrian activity. The proposed framework is useful for the identification of effective pedestrian safety actions, the prediction of pedestrian volumes and the appropriate safety design of new urban developments that encourage walking.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Accidents, Traffic / prevention & control*
  • Accidents, Traffic / statistics & numerical data
  • Automobile Driving*
  • Cities
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Environment Design*
  • Humans
  • Models, Theoretical*
  • Quebec
  • Risk
  • Safety
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Walking* / injuries
  • Walking* / statistics & numerical data