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On the causal effect of proximity to school on pedestrian safety at signalized intersections: a heterogeneous endogenous econometric model

On the causal effect of proximity to school on pedestrian safety at signalized intersections: a heterogeneous endogenous econometric model
On the causal effect of proximity to school on pedestrian safety at signalized intersections: a heterogeneous endogenous econometric model
Pedestrian safety in proximity to schools is a major concern of transportation authorities, local governments, and residents. In fact, several countermeasures (e.g., school-zone speed limits) are usually in place around schools to provide a safer environment, especially for school-age children. Two questions arise here: (i) are transportation facilities in proximity to schools truly safer than other facilities given a variety of implemented road safety interventions around schools? and (ii) how can we answer the previous question properly using a reliable approach that accounts for possible confounding? While previous literature has mixed results and does not provide clear methodological/empirical guidelines in this regard, we propose an approach that answers the above questions. We illustrate our method on a sample of intersections in Montreal, Canada. Specifically, to underpin a causal interpretation, for the first time in the extent of transportation literature, we develop a heterogeneous endogenous econometric model that estimates the causal effect of proximity to school on pedestrian safety, addressing a complex endogenous relationship between the two. Various built environment, traffic exposure, and road geometric/operational characteristics are considered. The results indicate that if endogeneity is not accounted for, the effect of proximity to school is underestimated, while not being significant at a 5% level of significance. However, after accounting for confounding factors, the proposed endogenous model indicates that proximity to school deteriorates pedestrian safety. Therefore, traffic safety countermeasures and policies in place (if any) during the study period have not been sufficient and/or effective in improving pedestrian safety at intersections near schools. Our heterogeneity in mean and variance formulation provided more insights. For example, we found that, interestingly, as pedestrian volume increases at intersections around schools, the adverse effect of proximity to school on pedestrian safety decreases, a possibility not previously explored in the extent of road safety literature, confirming a strong safety-in-numbers effect.
Built environment, Endogeneity, Pedestrian safety, Proximity to school, Safety-in-numbers
2213-6657
Heydari, Shahram
0d12a583-a4e8-4888-9e51-a50d312be1e9
Miranda-Moreno, Luis F.
b61c4a8f-b48e-4c04-b051-3184945da9e4
Hickford, Adrian
55d34672-b7bb-47d4-97a6-095304c429de
Heydari, Shahram
0d12a583-a4e8-4888-9e51-a50d312be1e9
Miranda-Moreno, Luis F.
b61c4a8f-b48e-4c04-b051-3184945da9e4
Hickford, Adrian
55d34672-b7bb-47d4-97a6-095304c429de

Heydari, Shahram, Miranda-Moreno, Luis F. and Hickford, Adrian (2020) On the causal effect of proximity to school on pedestrian safety at signalized intersections: a heterogeneous endogenous econometric model. Analytic Methods in Accident Research, 26, [100115]. (doi:10.1016/j.amar.2020.100115).

Record type: Article

Abstract

Pedestrian safety in proximity to schools is a major concern of transportation authorities, local governments, and residents. In fact, several countermeasures (e.g., school-zone speed limits) are usually in place around schools to provide a safer environment, especially for school-age children. Two questions arise here: (i) are transportation facilities in proximity to schools truly safer than other facilities given a variety of implemented road safety interventions around schools? and (ii) how can we answer the previous question properly using a reliable approach that accounts for possible confounding? While previous literature has mixed results and does not provide clear methodological/empirical guidelines in this regard, we propose an approach that answers the above questions. We illustrate our method on a sample of intersections in Montreal, Canada. Specifically, to underpin a causal interpretation, for the first time in the extent of transportation literature, we develop a heterogeneous endogenous econometric model that estimates the causal effect of proximity to school on pedestrian safety, addressing a complex endogenous relationship between the two. Various built environment, traffic exposure, and road geometric/operational characteristics are considered. The results indicate that if endogeneity is not accounted for, the effect of proximity to school is underestimated, while not being significant at a 5% level of significance. However, after accounting for confounding factors, the proposed endogenous model indicates that proximity to school deteriorates pedestrian safety. Therefore, traffic safety countermeasures and policies in place (if any) during the study period have not been sufficient and/or effective in improving pedestrian safety at intersections near schools. Our heterogeneity in mean and variance formulation provided more insights. For example, we found that, interestingly, as pedestrian volume increases at intersections around schools, the adverse effect of proximity to school on pedestrian safety decreases, a possibility not previously explored in the extent of road safety literature, confirming a strong safety-in-numbers effect.

Text
pedestrian School Shahram AMAR -pure (003) - Accepted Manuscript
Restricted to Repository staff only until 17 January 2022.
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More information

Accepted/In Press date: 17 January 2020
e-pub ahead of print date: 28 January 2020
Keywords: Built environment, Endogeneity, Pedestrian safety, Proximity to school, Safety-in-numbers

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 438209
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/438209
ISSN: 2213-6657
PURE UUID: ce0a353f-c48b-4dba-9803-bc0f058085ab
ORCID for Adrian Hickford: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0001-6414-9064

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 04 Mar 2020 17:31
Last modified: 26 Nov 2021 02:37

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Contributors

Author: Shahram Heydari
Author: Luis F. Miranda-Moreno
Author: Adrian Hickford ORCID iD

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