A New Methodology for Before–After Safety Assessment Using Survival Analysis and Longitudinal Data

Kun Xie, Kaan Ozbay, Hong Yang, Di Yang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The widely used empirical Bayes (EB) and full Bayes (FB) methods for before–after safety assessment are sometimes limited because of the extensive data needs from additional reference sites. To address this issue, this study proposes a novel before–after safety evaluation methodology based on survival analysis and longitudinal data as an alternative to the EB/FB method. A Bayesian survival analysis (SARE) model with a random effect term to address the unobserved heterogeneity across sites is developed. The proposed survival analysis method is validated through a simulation study before its application. Subsequently, the SARE model is developed in a case study to evaluate the safety effectiveness of a recent red-light-running photo enforcement program in New Jersey. As demonstrated in the simulation and the case study, the survival analysis can provide valid estimates using only data from treated sites, and thus its results will not be affected by the selection of defective or insufficient reference sites. In addition, the proposed approach can take into account the censored data generated due to the transition from the before period to the after period, which has not been previously explored in the literature. Using individual crashes as units of analysis, survival analysis can incorporate longitudinal covariates such as the traffic volume and weather variation, and thus can explicitly account for the potential temporal heterogeneity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1342-1357
Number of pages16
JournalRisk Analysis
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2019


  • Before–after safety assessment
  • survival analysis
  • traffic safety

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Safety, Risk, Reliability and Quality
  • Physiology (medical)


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