By Elvik Rune
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Extra info for Handbook of Road Safety Measures, Second Edition
If a distribution is very skew, the mean will give a misleading impression of where the majority of the results lies. An indication of skewness is a large difference between the median and the arithmetic mean of the distribution. An unskewed distribution will have very similar median and arithmetic mean. Publication bias is one possible source of skewness. Publication bias means that studies are more likely to be published when the results are in accordance with the expectation. In most accident studies, the expectation is that one will ﬁnd accident reductions following the implementation of a safety measure.
When outliers are found, it may be investigated if there are characteristics of the respective study that can explain the result. However, there are no (objective) criteria for what results can be regarded as outliers. Whether a result is regarded as an outlier and the explanations that may be found are to a large degree subjective and may be arbitrary. Moreover, whether the result is affected by individual estimates of effect is highly dependent on the number of available estimates of effect. When there are only few, almost any effect estimate may be regarded as an outlier, whereas almost no estimates of effect will seem to be outliers when there are a large number of estimates of effect.
Ideally, an exposure measure ought to be deﬁned in a way that accident rate and exposure are independent. Such an exposure measure is, however, not available to date. The probability of accident occurrence is affected by a very large number of risk factors related to the elements of the trafﬁc system: infrastructure and trafﬁc control devices, vehicles and road users. A risk factor for accidents is any factor that increases the probability of accident occurrence. Risk factors are, in other words, statistically related to the probability of accidents, but not all risk factors can be regarded as causes of accidents in a stricter sense of the term.
Handbook of Road Safety Measures, Second Edition by Elvik Rune