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Feasibility of "subjective" engineering assessments of road safety improvements : Bayesian analysis development

Melcher, Daniel J. , Dixon, Karen K. , Washington, Simon, & Wu, Chi-Hung (2001) Feasibility of "subjective" engineering assessments of road safety improvements : Bayesian analysis development. Transportation Research Record, 1758, pp. 36-43.

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Abstract

Regional safety program managers face a daunting challenge in the attempt to reduce deaths, injuries, and economic losses that result from motor vehicle crashes. This difficult mission is complicated by the combination of a large perceived need, small budget, and uncertainty about how effective each proposed countermeasure would be if implemented. A manager can turn to the research record for insight, but the measured effect of a single countermeasure often varies widely from study to study and across jurisdictions. The challenge of converting widespread and conflicting research results into a regionally meaningful conclusion can be addressed by incorporating "subjective" information into a Bayesian analysis framework. Engineering evaluations of crashes provide the subjective input on countermeasure effectiveness in the proposed Bayesian analysis framework. Empirical Bayes approaches are widely used in before-and-after studies and "hot-spot" identification; however, in these cases, the prior information was typically obtained from the data (empirically), not subjective sources. The power and advantages of Bayesian methods for assessing countermeasure effectiveness are presented. Also, an engineering evaluation approach developed at the Georgia Institute of Technology is described. Results are presented from an experiment conducted to assess the repeatability and objectivity of subjective engineering evaluations. In particular, the focus is on the importance, methodology, and feasibility of the subjective engineering evaluation for assessing countermeasures.

Impact and interest:

5 citations in Scopus
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0 citations in Web of Science®

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ID Code: 37605
Item Type: Journal Article
DOI: 10.3141/1758-06
ISSN: 0361-1981
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > MATHEMATICAL SCIENCES (010000) > STATISTICS (010400) > Applied Statistics (010401)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES (110000) > PUBLIC HEALTH AND HEALTH SERVICES (111700) > Public Health and Health Services not elsewhere classified (111799)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > BUILT ENVIRONMENT AND DESIGN (120000) > URBAN AND REGIONAL PLANNING (120500) > Transport Planning (120506)
Divisions: Current > Research Centres > Centre for Accident Research & Road Safety - Qld (CARRS-Q)
Past > QUT Faculties & Divisions > Faculty of Built Environment and Engineering
Past > Schools > School of Urban Development
Deposited On: 17 Feb 2011 09:42
Last Modified: 11 Aug 2011 04:26

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