the 10th World Conference on Transport Research, Istanbul

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Research Title: 
Accident Analysis for Economies in Transition using Spatial Analytical Tools: The Palestinian Territories Case
Sameer Abu-Eisheh
Thu, 2004-07-01
Research Abstract: 

Since the establishment of the Palestinian National Authority (PNA) in 1994 on parts of the Palestinian territories after years of Israeli occupation, changes in the political, demographic, and economic conditions have been observed. Such changes resulted in increased motorization levels, higher travel activities, and consequently higher traffic accidents As a general background, it can be stated that during the period from 1970 to 1998, the number of reported accidents in the Palestinian territories increased from 908 to 5945. The fatality rate per 10,000 vehicles reached to 14.2 in 1998. Such rate is about 4 times that of Israel, but forms about 75°,0 of the respective rate of neighboring Jordan. Despite this, no major improvements have been observed, either in the transportation infrastructure and services or in traffic control and enforcement. The PNA only started taking limited actions towards improving roadway safety. In order to tackle the traffic safety problems and to reduce the social and economic costs of traffic accidents in the Palestinian territories, roadway safety programs are be developed. Such programs should be directed towards identifying the causes of traffic accidents and the locations that have safety problems, usually called as hazardous locations. This should be followed by establishing engineering, education, enforcement, and legislative countermeasures and corrective actions to lessen the impacts of traffic accidents. Along the direction indicated above, this paper lays the foundation for a model of a national accident roadway safety program in a developing country, considered to represent an economy in transition, where the Palestinian territories are evolving as a separate entity. Such a model can be achieved through the development of a mechanism to analyze traffic accidents and facilitate the arrival at proper corrective measures. Efforts have been observed towards rational collection of data accidents in the Palestinian territories during the past few years. Proper use and analysis of such data is the cornerstone in understanding the causes of accidents, identifying accident-prone locations, and aiding in the choice of proper safety programs or countermeasures. The objective of this study is, therefore, to contribute towards the increase in the level of safety in the Palestinian territories case, by integrating collection of traffic accident data with developing a spatial database and an analytical framework for traffic accidents, and arriving at the proper corrective measures. The analytical tool used in this study is that based on utilizing the geographic information systems (GIS) in constructing the road safety spatial database, and in analyzing the aspects of the various road accident parameters. GIS has the ability to capture, store, update, manipulate, analyze, and display information related to the various forms of spatially referenced traffic accidents This helps in studying and analyzing the effects of the main factors involved in traffic accidents in order to arrive at the most suitable solutions to reduce the occurrence or severity of traffic accidents to the most possible extent. The developed GIS-oriented analytical model is being applied to Nablus City, which is considered as the economic capital of the Palestinian territories. This case study application can be considered as a sample that demonstrates the developed tool capabilities, which can utilized in other Palestinian urban areas, and in other similar cases of economies in transition. The paper shows how the developed tool is used in the analyses of road accidents. It demonstrates how to come with answers to accident-related inquires are and to identify the hazardous locations. Using GIS tools has been proven to be more efficient, and the resulting information is better understood, when compared with the traditional analysis methods of visually inspecting paper maps and running database inquires. The paper shows how the tool is used as well in improving quantitative accident data analysis and safety management. The paper illustrates the utilization of the results of the GIS-based analysis towards the evaluation of countermeasures and improvements. Illustrated examples of traffic accidents analysis for the urban area case study, such as pedestrian-related accidents along arterials, CBD accident pattern, schoolchildren accident involvement, and major intersection accidents, demonstrate the tool's capabilities.