Investigating built environment and traffic flow impact on crash frequency in urban road networks

Dong Xiao, Hongliang Ding, N. N. Sze, Nan Zheng

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review


While numerous studies have examined the factors that influence crash occurrence, there remains a gap in understanding the intricate relationship between built environment, traffic flow, and crash occurrences across different spatial units. This study explores how built environment attributes, and dynamic traffic flow characteristics affect crash frequency by focusing on proposed traffic density-based zones (TDZs). Utilizing a comprehensive dataset from Greater Melbourne, Australia, this research emphasizes on the dynamic traffic flow variables and insights from the Macroscopic Fundamental Diagram model, considering parameters such as shockwave velocity and congestion index. The association between the potential influencing factors and crash frequency is examined using a random parameter negative binomial regression model. Results indicate that the data segmentation based on TDZs is instrumental in establishing a more refined crash model compared to traditional planning-based zones, as demonstrated by improved goodness-of-fit measures. Factors including density (e.g., employment density), network design (e.g., road density and highway density), land use diversity (e.g., job-housing balance and land use mixture), and public transit accessibility (e.g., bus route density) are significantly associated with crash occurrence. Furthermore, the unobserved heterogeneity effects of the shockwave velocity and congestion index on crashes are revealed. The study highlights the significance of incorporating dynamic traffic flow variables in understanding crash frequency variations across different spatial units. These findings can inform optimal real-time traffic monitoring, environmental design, and road safety management strategies to mitigate crash risks.

Original languageEnglish
Article number107561
JournalAccident Analysis and Prevention
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2024


  • Built environment
  • Crash frequency
  • Macroscopic fundamental diagram
  • Traffic density-based zones

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Human Factors and Ergonomics
  • Safety, Risk, Reliability and Quality
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Law


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