Blackspots re­search ‘wrong turn’

Central and North Burnett Times - - NEWS -

A UNIVER­SITY study has found the cur­rent ap­proach to fix blackspots is tar­get­ing the wrong prob­lems.

QUT re­searcher Amir Pooyan Afghari said en­gi­neer­ing prob­lems fac­tored into just one fifth of crashes but were the fo­cus for Aus­tralia’s trans­port agen­cies.

Mr Afghari found cur­rent meth­ods to tar­get high­way blackspots were ig­nor­ing three key ways crashes oc­curred – geo­met­ric road char­ac­ter­is­tics, the sur­round­ing en­vi­ron­ment and driver behaviour.

“In­stead of ac­knowl­edg­ing th­ese three dis­tinct sources of crash causal fac­tors, cur­rent blackspot iden­ti­fi­ca­tion meth­ods are based on the fun­da­men­tal as­sump­tion that crashes are the re­sult of a sin­gle, risk-gen­er­at­ing process,” Mr Afghari said.

“Re­search has shown around 70% of crashes are caused by driver behaviour, while an­other 10% are the re­sult of the spa­tial fea­tures of the en­vi­ron­ment such as cli­matic con­di­tions or prox­im­ity to schools, leav­ing just 20% caused by en­gi­neer­ing fac­tors.

“If trans­port agen­cies are treat­ing blackspots with an en­gi­neer­ing so­lu­tion when the pre­dom­i­nant cause of the crash is driver er­ror or the en­vi­ron­ment, then this may ul­ti­mately lead to a waste of pub­lic funds.”


QUT’s Amir Afghari.

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