Road accidents are one of the main causes of death around the world and yet, from a time-space perspective, they are a rare event. To help us prevent accidents, a metric to determine the level of concentration of road accidents in a city could aid us to determine whether most of the accidents are constrained in a small number of places (hence, the environment plays a leading role) or whether accidents are dispersed over a city as a whole (hence, the driver has the biggest influence).
Here, we apply a new metric, the Rare Event Concentration Coefficient (RECC), to measure the concentration of road accidents based on a mixture model applied to the counts of road accidents over a discretised space. A test application of a tessellation of the space and mixture model is shown using two types of road accident data: an urban environment recorded in London between 2005 and 2014 and a motorway environment recorded in Mexico between 2015 and 2016.
In terms of their concentration, about 5% of the road junctions are the site of 50% of the accidents while around 80% of the road junctions expect close to zero accidents. Accidents which occur in regions with a high accident rate can be considered to have a strong component related to the environment and therefore changes, such as a road intervention or a change in the speed limit, might be introduced and their impact measured by changes to the RECC metric. This new procedure helps us identify regions with a high accident rate and determine whether the observed number of road accidents at a road junction has decreased over time and hence track structural changes in the road accident settings.