Austroads Publications Online
Safety of Disadvantaged Road Users
Publication no: AP-R516-16 Pages: 117
Published: 20 April 2016
This publication reports the literature review and statistical analysis stages of a project to investigate the relationship between disadvantage and road casualties.
The literature review confirmed that many studies have demonstrated increasing traffic injuries with lower socioeconomic status, despite wide difference in their design and the measures used. A number of Australian and New Zealand studies confirm high fatality and injury rates among Indigenous, Maori and Pacific Islander groups. An exception to the general pattern was a Victorian finding that the highest injury rates are for the middle of the disadvantage range, corresponding with one of the main findings of the present study.
Policies and programs to improve road safety outcomes for disadvantaged communities were reviewed; there was little information available of their outcomes.
The analysis in the present study was based on matching postcodes from persons involved in crashes with an index of social disadvantage derived from census data. Within each Statistical Local Area (SLA), covering a small number of postcodes, the population was divided into two gender and four age groups. Fatalities or serious injuries in the crash database were allocated to these groups. Negative binomial models were developed for South Australia and Victoria, the only two jurisdictions for which serious injury and postcode data were available.
The models agreed well, but some features of the results were unexpected: the highest FSI rates were experienced by communities towards the middle of the range of disadvantage, and communities in the Inner Regional areas had unexpectedly high FSI rates. A negative binomial model was also developed for NSW based on all casualties rather than FSI since the database does not distinguish between serious and other injuries.
The model which emerged was very different from the others, showing a progressive increase in casualty rate with increasing disadvantage. Contrary to expectations, the injury rate for Major Cities was the highest, and injury rate for Very Remote communities was the lowest. Recommendations include proceeding with the final stage of the project to develop an overview of relevant programs with a view to developing a strategy for more comprehensive coverage, analysis of the South Australian and Victorian data using all injury crashes to determine if the results from NSW can be replicated, investigation of the reasons for the high FSI rate for Inner Regional communities, and monitoring future programs to address disadvantage.
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