Comparative analysis of safety performance measures for hotspot identification: a case study of Brazilian urban areas

Vanessa Jamille Mesquita Xavier
Flávio José Craveiro Cunto

The overall effectiveness of the roadway safety management process (RSMP) relies on a robust method for identifying and ranking sites with major potential for safety improvements. In Brazil, manuals for hotspot identification are usually based only on crash frequency and crash rate as safety performance measures. The Highway Safety Manual (HSM) proposes 13 performance measures for hotspot identification which require different levels of completeness and accuracy of accident data systems as well as different modeling skills from safety staff. Therefore, it is common that jurisdictions in the infant stage of the RSMP would apply less informative safety PMs. This study presents a comparative analysis of safety performance measured taking into account its limitations applicability to a sample of signalized intersections from Fortaleza city, Brazil. Crash data as well as traffic and geometric attributes for the year of 2010 were used to estimate safety performance measures including those involving the development and application of safety performance functions. The performance of each measure to rank the sample intersection was achieved through the rank difference between each PM and the excess expected average crash frequency with EB adjustment (EEB). The consistency of each intersection within the top 20 most dangerous sites was also evaluated using a total seven performance measures. The results have suggested a reasonable matching between the most comprehensive performance measure (EEB) and very simple PMs such as crash frequency and crash rate. It is recommended to investigate the consistency of the results for longer observation period as well as for a different jurisdiction in Brazil. The results are also expected to contribute to the safety modeling community in Brazil and to bring better prospects for economic return considering the scarcity of resources applied to safety studies.

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