Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Modeling an infrastructure safety rating for vulnerable road users in developing countries
by Dahdah, Said, D.Sc., The George Washington University, 2008, 207; 3303935
Abstract (Summary)

The need for increased road safety measures is undeniable, given that well over a million people die every year in road crashes worldwide. The majority of fatalities are suffered in low and middle income countries. While road crash fatality rates steadily decrease in high income countries, road traffic crashes and injuries continue to increase both in absolute numbers and relative terms in low and middle-income countries. Unless appropriate action is taken urgently, the problem will worsen. Such accidents cause serious public health and development issues, tax health care systems, and strain already limited resources.

At particular risk of injury or death are the Vulnerable Road Users (VRUs), such as pedestrians, non-motorized vehicle users, and two-wheeler users. These VRUs are one of the main reasons for the disparity between high and lower-income countries. For the first time, a safety performance indicator for infrastructure safety is developed and used in low and middle-income countries. The model is test piloted and calibrated in several low and middle-income countries by the International Road Assessment Program (iRAP).

The relationship between the risk of a pedestrian being seriously injured when hit by a vehicle and impact speed is not continuous and two constant risk areas are observed for the ranges of impact speed between 15-30 km/h and 35-45 km/h. The risk increases exponentially between 35 and 55 km/h. Those findings are observed in the database analyzed and validated through simulations.

The safety performance indicator developed in this study explains about 50% of the variation in the fatality rate for pedestrians.

Fences that are commonly used in East Asia to provide separation between motorized and non-motorized traffic are not effective unless they are properly anchored to the ground.

A rule of thumb of 70 times the gross domestic product per capita is derived through analysis to be the estimate of the value of statistical life to be used in developing countries to value life in road safety.

The conventional value of serious injury being 10% the value of statistical life used in some developed countries is found not to be valid when valuing a serious injury in developing countries. An average value of serious injury equal to 25% the value of statistical life is derived in this study and recommended for developing countries.

The World Bank does not have a systematic approach to ensure the safety of the roads that are parts of the Bank's transport portfolio (around $ 4 billion per year). The Bank also lacks a tool for guiding the decision-making process to identify safety improvement needs and for developing a system-wide program of site-specific improvement projects. This research addresses this critical need and the results can be used as a tool in the appraisal phase of the World Bank financed transport projects.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Motevalli, Vahid
Commitee: Digges, Kennerly, Eskandarian, Azim, Queiroz, Cezar, Roddis, Kim
School: The George Washington University
Department: School of Engineering and Applied Science
School Location: United States -- District of Columbia
Source: DAI-B 69/03, Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Civil engineering, Transportation
Keywords: Developing countries, Infrastructure, Pedestrian safety, Road safety, Road users, Safety rating
Publication Number: 3303935
ISBN: 9780549512318
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