Canadian Journal of Public Health

Exposure-based Traffic Crash Injury Rates by Mode of Travel in British Columbia

Kay Teschke, M. Anne Harris, Conor C.O. Reynolds, Hui Shen, Peter A. Cripton, Meghan Winters

Abstract


BACKGKROUND: Traffic-related trauma is an important contributor to morbidity and mortality in Canada, especially among children and young adults. Comparing exposure-based injury rates between travel modes and jurisdictions is a valuable tool towards improving safety.

METHODS: We used injury data from the British Columbia Motor Vehicle Branch, trip diary data from the Metro Vancouver transportation authority, and population and provincial travel data from the Census to calculate crude fatality and injury rates for motor vehicle occupants, bicyclists, and pedestrians. We used three different denominators: population; person-trip; and distance travelled.

RESULTS: Motor vehicle occupants had the lowest fatality rates using exposure-based denominators: 9.6 per 100 million person-trips and 0.97 per 100 million km. Bicyclists and pedestrians had similar fatality rates using one denominator (13.8 vs. 14.7 per 100 million person-trips, respectively), but bicyclists had a lower rate using the other (2.60 vs. 7.37 per 100 million km). For injuries, pedestrians had the lowest rate and bicyclists the highest using the person-trip denominator, whereas motor vehicle occupants had the lowest rate using the distance denominator, and bicycling and walking had similar rates.

CONCLUSIONS: Risks of driving, walking and bicycling in British Columbia were similar to their risks in the United States. The injury and fatality rates for these three travel modes were intermediate compared to much higher rates among US motorcyclists and much lower rates among US bus passengers. Data improvements would enable transportation trauma rate calculations for Canada as a whole and for other modes of travel (transit, motorcycling).


Keywords


Traffic accidents; walking; bicycling; automobile driving; active transportation

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