Active safety features and adjustments to the New Car Assessment Program (NCAP) consumer-information crash tests have the potential to decrease the number of serious traffic injuries each year, according to previous studies. However, literature suggests that risk reductions, particularly in the automotive market, are often accompanied by adjusted consumer risk tolerance, and so these potential safety benefits may not be fully realized due to changes in consumer purchasing or driving behavior. This article approaches safety in the new vehicle market, particularly in the Sport Utility Vehicle and Crossover Utility Vehicle segments, from a market systems perspective. Crash statistics and simulations are used to predict the effects of design and policy changes on occupant crash safety, and discrete choice experiments are conducted to estimate the values consumers place on vehicle attributes. These models are combined in a market simulation that forecasts how consumers respond to the available vehicle alternatives, resulting in predictions of the market share of each vehicle and how the change in fleet mixture influences societal outcomes including injuries, fuel consumption, and firm profits. The model is tested for a scenario where active safety features are implemented across the new vehicle fleet and a scenario where the U.S. frontal NCAP test speed is modified. While results exhibit evidence of consumer risk adjustment, they support adding active safety features and lowering the NCAP frontal test speed, as these changes are predicted to improve the welfare of both firms and society.
Copyright © 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.