Relationship Between Traffic Volume and Accident Frequency at Intersections

Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2020 Feb 21;17(4):1393. doi: 10.3390/ijerph17041393.


Driven by the high social costs and emotional trauma that result from traffic accidents around the world, research into understanding the factors that influence accident occurrence is critical. There is a lack of consensus about how the management of congestion may affect traffic accidents. This paper aims to improve our understanding of this relationship by analysing accidents at 120 intersections in Adelaide, Australia. Data comprised of 1629 motor vehicle accidents with traffic volumes from a dataset of more than five million hourly measurements. The effect of rainfall was also examined. Results showed an approximately linear relationship between traffic volume and accident frequency at lower traffic volumes. In the highest traffic volumes, poisson and negative binomial models showed a significant quadratic explanatory term as accident frequency increases at a higher rate. This implies that focusing management efforts on avoiding these conditions would be most effective in reducing accident frequency. The relative risk of rainfall on accident frequency decreases with increasing congestion index. Accident risk is five times greater during rain at low congestion levels, successively decreasing to no elevated risk at the highest congestion level. No significant effect of congestion index on accident severity was detected.

Keywords: congestion; intersections; rainfall risk; relative risk; traffic volume; urban.

MeSH terms

  • Accidents, Traffic*
  • Australia
  • Models, Statistical*
  • Rain*