What are the leading causes of fatal and severe injury crashes involving older pedestrian? Evidence from Bayesian network model

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Introduction: Identifying factors contributing to the risk of older pedestrian fatal/severe injuries, along with their possible interdependency, is the first step towards improving safety. Several previous studies focused on identifying the influence of individual factors while ignoring their interdependencies. This study investigated the leading risk factors associated with older pedestrian fatalities/severe injuries by identifying the interdependency relationship among variables. Method: A Bayesian Logistic Regression (BLR) model was developed to identify significant factors influencing pedestrian fatalities and severe injuries, followed by a Bayesian Network (BN) model to reveal the interdependency relationship among the statistically significant variables and crash severity. Furthermore, the probabilistic inference was conducted to identify the leading cause of fatal and severe injuries involving older pedestrians. The models were developed with data from 913 pedestrian crashes involving older pedestrians at signalized intersections in Florida from 2016 through 2018. Results: Vehicle maneuver, lighting condition, road type, and shoulder type were directly associated with older pedestrian fatality/severe injury. Vehicle maneuver (going straight ahead) was the most significant factor in influencing the severity of crashes involving older pedestrians. The interdependency of vehicle moving straight, nighttime condition, and two-way divided roadway with curbed shoulders was associated with the highest likelihood of fatal and severe-injury crashes involving older pedestrians. Conclusions: The Bayesian Network revealed the interdependency between variables associated with fatal and severe injury-crashes involving older pedestrians. The interdependency relationship with the highest likelihood to cause fatalities/severe-injuries comprised factors with the significant individual contribution to the severity of crashes involving older pedestrians. Practical applications: The interdependencies among variables identified in this research could help devise targeted engineering, education, and enforcement strategies that could potentially have a greater effect on improving the safety of older pedestrians.

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Journal of Safety Research

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