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Accid Anal Prev. 2013 Dec;61:23-32. doi: 10.1016/j.aap.2012.10.013. Epub 2012 Nov 22.

Use of speed profile as surrogate measure: Effect of traffic calming devices on crosstown road safety performance.

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Highway Engineering Research Group (HERG), Universitat Politècnica de València, Camino de Vera, s/n, 46071 Valencia, Spain. Electronic address:


Urban road safety management is usually characterized by the lack of sufficient, good quality crash data and low budgets to obtain it even though many traffic accidents occur there. For example, 54 percent of road crashes in Spain take place in urban areas, and 10 percent of urban fatal crashes occur on crosstown roads, which are rural roads that traverse small communities. Traffic calming measures (TCMs) are often implemented on these parts of rural roads that traverse small communities in order to reduce both the frequency and severity of crashes by lowering speeds, but evaluation of their effectiveness has been limited. The objective of this study was to develop a methodology using continuous speed profiles to evaluate the safety effectiveness of TCMs on crosstown roads as part of an integrated system in the absence of historical data. Given the strong relationship between speed and crash experience, safety performance can be related to speed. Consequently, speed can be used indirectly as a surrogate safety measure in the absence of crash and speed data. Two indexes were defined in this study as surrogate safety measures based on the continuous speed profile: Ra and Ea. Ra represents the absolute accumulated speed variations relative to the average speed and is inversely related to accumulated speed uniformity; and Ea represents the accumulated speed variations above the speed limit and is directly related to accumulated speeding. Naturalistic data were collected using GPS trackers for 12 scenarios with different TCM spacings. Then, the indexes were applied to individual observed speed profiles (individual analysis) as well as the operating speed profile (global analysis). The values obtained from individual and global analysis were statistically different. Spacing lower than 110m, which was found optimal from previous research, did not allow drivers to modify their speeds as the accumulated speed uniformity was quite similar regardless of the average operating speed; and, accumulated speeding was also minimized. Consequently, the scenarios where the TCMs were implemented according to the technical criteria presented a better design quality. On the other hand, age and gender differences did not seem to affect the average speeds or the accumulated speed uniformity and accumulated speeding.


Consistency; Speed profile; Speeding; Surrogate safety measure; Traffic calming

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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