Using micro-simulation to investigate the safety impacts of transit design alternatives at signalized intersections

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

place - north america, place - urban, infrastructure - bus/tram priority, infrastructure - traffic signals, planning - safety/accidents


Micro-simulation, Transit operation, Crash prediction model, Safety performance function, Transit signal priority, Traffic conflict technique


This study investigates the use of crash prediction models and micro-simulation to develop an effective surrogate safety assessment measure at the intersection level. With the use of these tools, hypothetical scenarios can be developed and explored to evaluate the safety impacts of design alternatives in a controlled environment, in which factors not directly associated with the design alternatives can be fixed. Micro-simulation models are developed, calibrated, and validated. Traffic conflicts in the micro-simulation models are estimated and linked with observed crash frequency, which greatly alleviates the lengthy time needed to collect sufficient crash data for evaluating alternatives, due to the rare and infrequent nature of crash events. A set of generalized linear models with negative binomial error structure is developed to correlate the simulated conflicts with the observed crash frequency in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Crash prediction models are also developed for crashes of different impact types and for transit-involved crashes. The resulting statistical significance and the goodness-of-fit of the models suggest adequate predictive ability. Based on the established correlation between simulated conflicts and observed crashes, scenarios are developed in the micro-simulation models to investigate the safety effects of individual transit line elements by making hypothetical modifications to such elements and estimating changes in crash frequency from the resulting changes in conflicts. The findings imply that the existing transit signal priority schemes can have a negative effect on safety performance, and that the existing near-side stop positioning and streetcar transit type can be safer at their current state than if they were to be replaced by their respective counterparts.


Permission to publish the abstract has been given by Elsevier, copyright remains with them.


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