Assessing the Cost of Road Traffic Casualties

Project Details

Lead Supervisor: Prof Andrew Dickerson (University of Sheffield)
Other Supervisors: Dr Arne Risa Hole, Prof Gwilym Pryce
Contact Email: a.p.dickerson@sheffield.ac.uk
Partners: University of Sheffield
External Partners: Agilysis

Start Date: October 2018

For road safety engineering schemes and infrastructure investment the cost of road traffic casualties is an important metric. Many safety schemes are evaluated on the basis of first year rates of return that multiply the projected reduction by the specified cost per casualty. The effect is that millions of pounds of public funding is planned on the basis of casualty costs. The mechanism for calculating casualty costs was established in the 1990’s and formalised in a guidance document called Highways Economic Note 1. The calculations include some emergency care costs and a measure called ‘Willingness to Pay’ which seeks to establish an economic value for the loss. Since its inception, the costs have been routinely updated but the methodology has not been substantially changed despite a number of good reasons for thoroughly reviewing the calculations:

(1) the costs of personal injury claims have grown significantly in recent years;
(2) healthcare and responsibilities for acute care, rehabilitation and public health now exist in a very different marketplace;
(3) a uniform figure for the UK may not sufficiently reflect economic variance;
(4) casualty survival rates have changed with improved emergency care, but long-term rehabilitation costs are considerably higher;
(5) it is now feasible to deliver a more granular analysis on the basis of loss of prospective economic output by age, gender, geographic location and socio-economic background of the casualties.

This PhD will seek to take into account these factors, exploiting new data opportunities to develop a significantly improved methodology. The project has the potential to have a transformative effect on how the cost of road traffic accidents is assessed.

Reference number SH21

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