A Poisson-lognormal conditional-autoregressive model for multivariate spatial analysis of pedestrian crash counts across neighborhoods

Accid Anal Prev. 2013 Nov;60:71-84. doi: 10.1016/j.aap.2013.07.030. Epub 2013 Aug 21.


This work examines the relationship between 3-year pedestrian crash counts across Census tracts in Austin, Texas, and various land use, network, and demographic attributes, such as land use balance, residents' access to commercial land uses, sidewalk density, lane-mile densities (by roadway class), and population and employment densities (by type). The model specification allows for region-specific heterogeneity, correlation across response types, and spatial autocorrelation via a Poisson-based multivariate conditional auto-regressive (CAR) framework and is estimated using Bayesian Markov chain Monte Carlo methods. Least-squares regression estimates of walk-miles traveled per zone serve as the exposure measure. Here, the Poisson-lognormal multivariate CAR model outperforms an aspatial Poisson-lognormal multivariate model and a spatial model (without cross-severity correlation), both in terms of fit and inference. Positive spatial autocorrelation emerges across neighborhoods, as expected (due to latent heterogeneity or missing variables that trend in space, resulting in spatial clustering of crash counts). In comparison, the positive aspatial, bivariate cross correlation of severe (fatal or incapacitating) and non-severe crash rates reflects latent covariates that have impacts across severity levels but are more local in nature (such as lighting conditions and local sight obstructions), along with spatially lagged cross correlation. Results also suggest greater mixing of residences and commercial land uses is associated with higher pedestrian crash risk across different severity levels, ceteris paribus, presumably since such access produces more potential conflicts between pedestrian and vehicle movements. Interestingly, network densities show variable effects, and sidewalk provision is associated with lower severe-crash rates.

Keywords: Count models; Crash modeling; Multivariate conditional autoregressive models; Pedestrian crashes; Spatial data.

MeSH terms

  • Accidents, Traffic / statistics & numerical data*
  • Bayes Theorem
  • Geographic Information Systems
  • Humans
  • Markov Chains
  • Models, Statistical*
  • Monte Carlo Method
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Poisson Distribution
  • Population Density
  • Regression Analysis
  • Residence Characteristics*
  • Safety / statistics & numerical data*
  • Spatial Analysis*
  • Texas
  • Walking*