USING CRASH COSTS IN SAFETY ANALYSIS

This research had four objectives: (1) to review the academic and professional literature for vehicle crash costs and the methods used by researchers to estimate such costs; (2) to assess current state department of transportation (DOT) practices across the country; (3) to provide the Iowa DOT with recommendations as to appropriate values for costs of fatal, personal-injury, and property-damage-only crashes; and (4) to suggest modifications to the methods the Iowa DOT currently uses when making safety investment decisions and evaluating design exceptions. The report is presented in four chapters. Chapter 1 provides an introduction. Chapter 2 presents a theoretical framework for justifying, selecting, and using specific crash costs for safety analysis and investment decisions. It also reviews the primary sources for comprehensive costs and the available guidance for using them. Chapter 3 looks at how state DOTs use the values for fatality and injury crash costs. It also compares how different states prioritize safety improvements. Chapter 4 concludes the report with a number of recommendations. These include several revisions to the safety analysis methods currently used by the Iowa DOT.

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