Blackspots research ‘wrong turn’
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.