DOI: 10.3390/su16031233 ISSN: 2071-1050

An Econometric Analysis to Explore the Temporal Variability of the Factors Affecting Crash Severity Due to COVID-19

Mubarak Alrumaidhi, Hesham A. Rakha
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Building and Construction

This study utilizes multilevel ordinal logistic regression (M-OLR), an approach that accounts for spatial heterogeneity, to assess the dynamics of crash severity in Virginia, USA, over the years 2018 to 2023. This period was notably influenced by the COVID-19 pandemic and its associated stay-at-home orders, which significantly altered traffic behaviors and crash severity patterns. This study aims to evaluate the pandemic’s impact on crash severity and examine the consequent changes in driver behaviors. Despite a reduction in total crashes, a worrying increase in the proportion of severe injuries is observed, suggesting that less congested roads during the pandemic led to riskier driving behaviors, notably increased speed violations. This research also highlights heightened risks for vulnerable road users such as pedestrians, cyclists, and motorcyclists, with changes in transportation habits during the pandemic leading to more severe crashes involving these groups. Additionally, this study emphasizes the consistent influence of environmental and roadway features, like weather conditions and traffic signals, in determining crash outcomes. These findings offer vital insights for road safety policymakers and urban planners, indicating the necessity of adaptive road safety strategies in response to changing societal norms and behaviors. The research underscores the critical role of individual behaviors and mental states in traffic safety management and advocates for holistic approaches to ensure road safety in a rapidly evolving post-pandemic landscape.

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