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Project Description

The proposed study would use an epidemiological approach to examine possible predictors of and current interventions for safety in aviation, highway and marine modes of transportation in two regions with widely different safety records: New York (NY) representing several regions in the US, and Tanzania (Tz), representing several regions in Africa (see diagram). For most transportation modes, NY has one of the best and Tz has among the worst safety records.

Several US, African, and international public and private entities offer that safety is a serious and growing problem, with injuries accounting for approximately 1 in 8 deaths among males and 1 in 14 deaths among females worldwide (MacKenzie, 2000). In addition, they agree that with today’s market globalization, to promote the economy and quality of life of one’s own region, other struggling regions must also be enhanced. Local, national, and global connectivity is required for efficient commerce. Connectivity, in turn, requires ongoing security and safety. By improving transportation safety we may also find cost-effective ways to improve both the NY and TZ regions’ economies and ways of life.

NY is facing new economic, technological and safety challenges, such as those related to insufficient capacity in all modes of transportation. Tz is attempting to correct its problems. In NY, and across the US, congestion threatens safety, such as by road rage, runway incursions, emissions pollution, and it hampers economic growth, for example, by delays. “The great challenge is that of stimulating capacity growth through increased system efficiency, as infrastructure growth will likely be constrained” (Schubert, 2003). DOT is particularly concerned about road, air, and marine efficiency and safety.

The scientific literature contains calls for studies of descriptive epidemiology of injuries and evaluations of transportation safety interventions. Leaders, who have directed numerous investments in programs to improve transportation efficiency, are also requesting explanations of key indicators of safety and security in order to ensure that what is financed is truly effective (Pozzo di Borgo, 2005).

We propose to examine predictors of safety, with an understanding of how each region’s problems and successes can inform the others. By describing factors, such as culture, and current interventions, such as training or technology, we could identify the most useful safety predictors. Some predictors may be common to all regions and modes, such as a safety management system, a safety sub-culture, or advanced training. While technology is necessary, it may not be sufficient to ensure transportation safety. Other predictors should vary by context, modifiability and cost-effectiveness.

We would conduct a review of literature and interview experts, enabling us to define variables, hypotheses, models, and best practices. We would then write at least one paper. The paper(s), acknowledging UTRC, would be offered for publication or presentation to organizations such as the Transportation Research Board, Flight Safety Foundation, Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, or to a journal such as Journal of Transportation Engineering or Human Factors, during 2008 or 2009. Subsequently, we would design appropriate data collection, using existing data bases or surveys. The complex data sets would require multi-level analyses, such as time series or structural equation models.