Updating outdated predictive accident models

Accid Anal Prev. 2013 Jun;55:54-66. doi: 10.1016/j.aap.2013.02.028. Epub 2013 Feb 28.


Reliable predictive accident models (PAMs) (also referred to as safety performance functions (SPFs)) are essential to design and maintain safe road networks however, ongoing changes in road and vehicle design coupled with road safety initiatives, mean that these models can quickly become dated. Unfortunately, because the fitting of sophisticated PAMs including a wide range of explanatory variables is not a trivial task, available models tend to be based on data collected many years ago and seem unlikely to give reliable estimates of current accidents. Large, expensive studies to produce new models are likely to be, at best, only a temporary solution. This paper thus seeks to develop a practical and efficient methodology to allow currently available PAMs to be updated to give unbiased estimates of accident frequencies at any point in time. Two principal issues are examined: the extent to which the temporal transferability of predictive accident models varies with model complexity; and the practicality and efficiency of two alternative updating strategies. The models used to illustrate these issues are the suites of models developed for rural dual and single carriageway roads in the UK. These are widely used in several software packages in spite of being based on data collected during the 1980s and early 1990s. It was found that increased model complexity by no means ensures better temporal transferability and that calibration of the models using a scale factor can be a practical alternative to fitting new models.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Accidents, Traffic / statistics & numerical data*
  • Automobile Driving / statistics & numerical data*
  • Environment Design
  • Humans
  • Models, Statistical*
  • Motor Vehicles / statistics & numerical data
  • Safety
  • United Kingdom