Re-visiting crash–speed relationships: A new perspective in crash modelling Academic Article uri icon


  • Although speed is considered to be one of the main crash contributory factors, research findings are inconsistent. Independent of the robustness of their statistical approaches, crash frequency models typically employ crash data that are aggregated using spatial criteria (e.g., crash counts by link termed as a link-based approach). In this approach, the variability in crashes between links is explained by highly aggregated average measures that may be inappropriate, especially for time-varying variables such as speed and volume. This paper re-examines crash-speed relationships by creating a new crash data aggregation approach that enables improved representation of the road conditions just before crash occurrences. Crashes are aggregated according to the similarity of their pre-crash traffic and geometric conditions, forming an alternative crash count dataset termed as a condition-based approach. Crash-speed relationships are separately developed and compared for both approaches by employing the annual crashes that occurred on the Strategic Road Network of England in 2012. The datasets are modelled by injury severity using multivariate Poisson lognormal regression, with multivariate spatial effects for the link-based model, using a full Bayesian inference approach. The results of the condition-based approach show that high speeds trigger crash frequency. The outcome of the link-based model is the opposite; suggesting that the speed-crash relationship is negative regardless of crash severity. The differences between the results imply that data aggregation is a crucial, yet so far overlooked, methodological element of crash data analyses that may have direct impact on the modelling outcomes.

altmetric score

  • 1.75

author list (cited authors)

  • Imprialou, M., Quddus, M., Pitfield, D. E., & Lord, D.

citation count

  • 53

publication date

  • January 2016