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  • Writer's pictureMashrur Rahman

Investigating risk factors associated with pedestrian crash occurrence and injury severity in Texas

Updated: Jun 9, 2022


Objective: This study investigates various risk factors associated with pedestrian crash occurrence and injury severity based on 78,497 reported pedestrian-involved crashes across Texas from 2010 through 2019.

Methods: Crashes are mapped to over 708,738 road segments, along with road design, land use, transit, hospital, rainfall, and other location features. Negative binomial models examine the association between pedestrian crash frequency and various contributing factors, and a heteroskedastic ordered probit model investigates the severity of injuries at the individual crash level.

Results: Results from this study show the practical significance of microlevel variables in predicting pedestrian crashes. Proximity to schools and hospitals and presence of transit are all associated with higher pedestrian crash frequencies yet are rarely included in other models. Total pedestrian crash and fatal crash counts rise with the number of lanes, population, and job densities, though greater median and shoulder widths provide some protection. Higher speed limits are associated with lower crash frequencies but more deaths. Pedestrian crashes are more likely to be severe and fatal at night (8 p.m. to 5 a.m.), without overhead lighting, and when involved pedestrians and/or drivers are intoxicated. Use of light-duty trucks also significantly increases risk of severe or fatal pedestrian injury. Though newer vehicle safety features may be argued to lower crash severity or protect vehicle occupants, newer crash-involved vehicles in Texas are not found to deliver less severe pedestrian injury. Pedestrian and driver characteristics—both age and gender—are practically (and statistically) significant. Injury severity rises with pedestrian age, yet younger and/or female pedestrians on straight roadways, off the state (and interstate) highway system, and in the presence of a traffic control device (stop sign or signal) are less likely to be seriously injured, on average.

Conclusions: Findings underscore the benefit of enhanced vehicle safety features for pedestrians, campaigns against driving and walking while intoxicated, improved roadway design, enforcement of safety countermeasures near schools and bus stops, and installment of additional traffic controls and streetlights wherever more pedestrians exist.

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