Examining the Effects of Site-Selection Criteria for Evaluating the Effectiveness of Traffic Safety Improvement Countermeasures
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The before-after study is still the most popular method used by traffic engineers and transportation safety analysts for evaluating the effects of an intervention. However, this kind of study may be plagued by important methodological limitations, which could significantly alter the study outcome. They include the regression-to-the-mean (RTM) and site-selection effects. So far, most of the research on these biases has focused on the RTM. Hence, the primary objective of this study consists of presenting a method that can reduce the site-selection bias when an entry criterion is used in before-after studies for continuous (e.g. speed, reaction times, etc.) and count data (e.g. number of crashes, number of fatalities, etc.). The proposed method documented in this research provides a way to adjust the Naive estimator by using the sample data and without relying on the data collected from the control group, since finding enough appropriate sites for the control group is much harder in traffic-safety analyses. In this study, the proposed method, a.k.a. Adjusted method, was compared to commonly used methods in before-after studies. The study results showed that among all methods evaluated, the Naive is the most significantly affected by the selection bias. Using the CG, the ANCOVA, or the EB method based on a control group (EBCG) method can eliminate the site-selection bias, as long as the characteristics of the control group are exactly the same as those for the treatment group. However, control group data that have same characteristics based on a truncated distribution or sample may not be available in practice. Moreover, site-selection bias generated by using a dissimilar control group might be even higher than with using the Naive method. The Adjusted method can partially eliminate site-selection bias even when biased estimators of the mean, variance, and correlation coefficient of a truncated normal distribution are used or are not known with certainty. In addition, three actual datasets were used to evaluate the accuracy of the Adjusted method for estimating site-selection biases for various types of data that have different mean and sample-size values.
site selection effects
Empirical Bayes Method
Kuo, Pei-Fen (2012). Examining the Effects of Site-Selection Criteria for Evaluating the Effectiveness of Traffic Safety Improvement Countermeasures. Doctoral dissertation, Texas A&M University. Available electronically from