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Road Accidents and Traffic Flows: An Econometric Investigation


  • Andrew Dickerson


  • John Peirson


  • Roger Vickerman



This paper develops an empirical model of the relationship between road traffic accidents and traffic flows. The analysis focuses on the accident externality which is mainly determined by the difference between the marginal and average risks. The model is estimated using a new dataset which combines hourly London traffic count data from automated vehicle recorders together with police records of road accidents. The accident-flow relationship is seen to vary considerably between different road classes and geographical areas. More importantly, even having controlled for these and other differences, the accident externality is shown to vary significantly with traffic flows. In particular, while the accident externality is typically close to zero for low to moderate traffic flows, it increases substantially at high traffic flows.

Suggested Citation

  • Andrew Dickerson & John Peirson & Roger Vickerman, 1998. "Road Accidents and Traffic Flows: An Econometric Investigation," Studies in Economics 9809, School of Economics, University of Kent.
  • Handle: RePEc:ukc:ukcedp:9809

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Newbery, David M, 1987. "Road User Charges in Britain," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 98(390), pages 161-176, Supplemen.
    2. Peirson, John & Skinner, Ian & Vickerman, Roger, 1998. "The Microeconomic Analysis of the External Costs of Road Accidents," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 65(259), pages 429-440, August.
    3. Jones-Lee, M W, 1990. "The Value of Transport Safety," Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 6(2), pages 39-60, Summer.
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    5. Daniel Shefer & Piet Rietveld, 1997. "Congestion and Safety on Highways: Towards an Analytical Model," Urban Studies, Urban Studies Journal Limited, vol. 34(4), pages 679-692, April.
    6. Jones-Lee, M W & Hammerton, M & Philips, P R, 1985. "The Value of Safety: Results of a National Sample Survey," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 95(377), pages 49-72, March.
    7. Vickrey, William S, 1969. "Congestion Theory and Transport Investment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 59(2), pages 251-260, May.
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    Cited by:

    1. Hyman, Geoffrey & Mayhew, Les, 2002. "Optimizing the benefits of urban road user charging," Transport Policy, Elsevier, vol. 9(3), pages 189-207, July.
    2. Gregory DeAngelo & Benjamin Hansen, 2014. "Life and Death in the Fast Lane: Police Enforcement and Traffic Fatalities," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 6(2), pages 231-257, May.
    3. Golob, Thomas F. & Recker, Wilfred W., 2001. "Relationships Among Urban Freeway Accidents, Traffic Flow, Weather and Lighting Conditions," Institute of Transportation Studies, Research Reports, Working Papers, Proceedings qt2fh4x5hp, Institute of Transportation Studies, UC Berkeley.
    4. Fosgerau, Mogens & Lindsey, Robin, 2013. "Trip-timing decisions with traffic incidents," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 43(5), pages 764-782.
    5. Foreman, Kate, 2016. "Crossing the bridge: The effects of time-varying tolls on curbing congestion," Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Elsevier, vol. 92(C), pages 76-94.
    6. repec:ebl:ecbull:v:18:y:2004:i:3:p:1-7 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. Proost, Stef & Van Dender, Kurt, 2001. "The welfare impacts of alternative policies to address atmospheric pollution in urban road transport," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 31(4), pages 383-411, July.
    8. Schrage, Andrea, 2006. "Traffic Congestion and Accidents," University of Regensburg Working Papers in Business, Economics and Management Information Systems 419, University of Regensburg, Department of Economics.
    9. Kwon, Youngsun & Han, Seung Hun & Nam, Changi, 2012. "Estimating the costs of political populism: Traffic violation pardons in Korea," Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Elsevier, vol. 46(9), pages 1449-1457.
    10. Golob, Thomas F. & Recker, Wilfred W. & Alvarez, Veronica, 2002. "Freeway Safety as a Function of Traffic Flow: The FITS Tool for Evaluating ATMS Operations," Institute of Transportation Studies, Research Reports, Working Papers, Proceedings qt1tc5r61j, Institute of Transportation Studies, UC Berkeley.
    11. Pål Andreas Pedersen, 2001. "A Game Theoretical Approach to Road Safety," Studies in Economics 0105, School of Economics, University of Kent.
    12. Ilias-Nikiforos Pasidis, 2015. "Congestion by accident? Traffic and accidents in England," ERSA conference papers ersa15p1321, European Regional Science Association.
    13. Steimetz, Seiji S.C., 2008. "Defensive driving and the external costs of accidents and travel delays," Transportation Research Part B: Methodological, Elsevier, vol. 42(9), pages 703-724, November.
    14. Noland, Robert B. & Quddus, Mohammed A., 2005. "Congestion and safety: A spatial analysis of London," Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Elsevier, vol. 39(7-9), pages 737-754.
    15. Proost, S. & Van Dender, K. & Courcelle, C. & De Borger, B. & Peirson, J. & Sharp, D. & Vickerman, R. & Gibbons, E. & O'Mahony, M. & Heaney, Q. & Van den Bergh, J. & Verhoef, E., 2002. "How large is the gap between present and efficient transport prices in Europe?," Transport Policy, Elsevier, vol. 9(1), pages 41-57, January.
    16. Daniel Albalate, 2013. "The Road against Fatalities: Infrastructure Spending vs. Regulation?," ERSA conference papers ersa13p221, European Regional Science Association.
    17. Verhoef, Erik T. & Rouwendal, Jan, 2004. "A behavioural model of traffic congestion: Endogenizing speed choice, traffic safety and time losses," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 56(3), pages 408-434, November.
    18. Lindberg, Gunnar, 2005. "Accidents," Research in Transportation Economics, Elsevier, vol. 14(1), pages 155-183, January.
    19. Lei Zhang & David Levinson, 2005. "Investing for Reliability and Security in Transportation Networks," Working Papers 200807, University of Minnesota: Nexus Research Group.
    20. Golob, Thomas F. & Recker, Wilfred W. & Alvarez, Veronica M., 2003. "A Tool to Evaluate the Safety Effects of Changes in Freeway Traffic Flow," Institute of Transportation Studies, Research Reports, Working Papers, Proceedings qt1kn30323, Institute of Transportation Studies, UC Berkeley.
    21. Tito Moreira & Adolfo Sachsida & Loureiro Paulo, 2004. "Traffic accidents: an econometric investigation," Economics Bulletin, AccessEcon, vol. 18(3), pages 1-7.
    22. repec:eee:transa:v:107:y:2018:i:c:p:20-34 is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item


    Road Traffic Accidents; Traffic Flows; Accident Externalities;

    JEL classification:

    • C14 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric and Statistical Methods and Methodology: General - - - Semiparametric and Nonparametric Methods: General
    • C80 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Data Collection and Data Estimation Methodology; Computer Programs - - - General
    • D62 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Externalities
    • R40 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Transportation Economics - - - General


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