Transportation safety

Transportation  safety is one of the top concerns in the transportation field. Our recently completed research project focuses on safety from the bicyclists’ perspective. Earlier studies have explored the associations between intersection design characteristics and bicyclist safety perceptions. Research shows that there are significant links between bicycling choice, safety perceptions, bicycling experience levels, and socio-demographics. However, the existing bicycling safety-rating models do not control for the individuals’ socio-demographics and bicycling experiences that are known to affect bicycling choice.

Our study develops a Perceived Bicycling Intersection Safety (PBIS) model to help engineers, planners, and decision-makers better understand the contribution of each intersection feature to bicyclist safety perceptions, controlling for socio-demographics and attitudes towards bicycling. The developed model can predict how safe a bicyclist is likely to feel riding through a given street intersection. The developed model can be used to evaluate existing street intersections and project the changes in safety perceptions with respect to changes in intersection features.

The empirical analysis is based on the data collected via an online visual survey at the main campus of The Ohio State University through March and April 2017. We collected information on respondents’ safety perceptions at various intersections using a visual preference survey. We also collected data on other factors that are known to affect bicycling decisions such as socio-demographic characteristics, attitudes towards bicycling, and general travel characteristics. We received over 1,000 responses from undergraduate and graduate students as well as faculty and staff members. We estimate a series of Ordered Probit (OP) models to demonstrate the extent to which certain street intersection characteristics (such as traffic volume, intersection configuration, posted road crossings, bike lanes, bicycle boxes, green space, road surface conditions, surrounding neighborhood types, and other features) affect bicycling safety perceptions while controlling for socio-demographics and bicycling experience levels.

Related work:

Street Intersection Characteristics and Their Impacts on Perceived Safety, ODOT (Ohio Department of Transportation), (PI: Professor Gulsah Akar) 2016-2017, $40,000