Identifying patterns of pedestrian accidents of different severity levels in Sweden
Abstract: Sweden is one of the leading countries in traffic safety, but pedestrians are vulnerable compared to other road users. “Vision zero” mission, which means no fatal or serious injury in road traffic system, has been the target of Sweden since 1997. As a result, more efforts should be put to reduce pedestrian accidents. The aim of this study is to contribute to the knowledge on reducing the number of pedestrian accidents of different severity levels in Sweden. First, this study found patterns on Swedish pedestrian accidents involving fatal, serious and moderate injuries by using same variables, then compared identified patterns corresponding to different severity levels. Then, additional patterns of pedestrian accidents involving fatal and serious injuries were assessed by adding additional variables in the clustering analysis. Finally, Swedish-oriented preventive measures were recommended based on the hypotheses on each identified patterns in a systematic way, which gave reference to policy makers in Sweden on the most urgent problems in pedestrian safety. Self-organizing map (SOM) with batch mode was applied in this study for clustering analysis, which has advantages on identifying patterns on pedestrian accidents compared to other methods, including classical linear algorithms and other unsupervised clustering algorithms (hierarchal clustering, k-means clustering and SOM with incremental mode). In addition, a specific set of assessment criteria for clustering solutions was proposed in terms of quality, stability and interpretability. According to the results of clustering solutions, falling was the main reason for serious injuries while collision with vehicles was the main reason for fatal injuries. Middle-aged and old people tended to hurt limbs when falling while children and young males tended to hurt heads. Old people might be vulnerable during daily life or within friendly traffic environment. Potential risk included outdoor activities, careless people during winter and weekend or summer night parties. Lastly, preventive measure could be combined across accidents of different severity levels, since patterns for fatal injuries were partly the same as those for non-fatal-injuries.
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