Research Team: Prashanth S. Venkataram (lead), Jesus Barajas, and Md. Musfiqur Rahman Bhuiya
UC Campus(es): UC Davis
Problem Statement: Over the past five years in California, there were an average of over 3,800 fatalities, almost 15,900 serious injuries, and more than 233,100 minor injuries each year resulting from vehicular collisions. These collisions disproportionately affect individuals from socioeconomically disadvantaged backgrounds, including people with disabilities. Despite the physical and mental harm suffered by collision victims, little is known about how these incidents impact their travel behaviors, such as travel frequency and mode choices. Reduced travel frequency could potentially harm socioeconomic equity, as victims who travel less may be less active in the economy as workers or consumers. This effect is likely to be more pronounced for people with disabilities, who already face disadvantages in terms of access and mobility. Furthermore, shifts away from public or active transportation options in favor of other modes may undermine the other state goals, including reducing greenhouse gas emissions from transportation.
Project Description: Interviews with professionals who work with individuals affected by road collisions reveal that there is no systematic collection of data regarding the effects of such collisions on individual travel behavior. This project aims to fill this gap by conducting focus groups with individuals who have experienced road collisions. The focus will be on their safety concerns and transportation priorities. Specifically, this project aims to address: i) how collisions or near misses impact travel frequencies and mode choices, especially for individuals with disabilities, and ii) how experiences with collisions or near misses make people more likely to use single-occupancy vehicular modes like driving, riding as a passenger, or using taxis, ride-hailing services, or paratransit. This research builds upon an ongoing project where the researchers are collaborating with community-based organizations across California and medical professionals who work with road collision survivors. The goal is to understand the transportation concerns expressed by these individuals. This project will conduct six focus groups. Participants will generate ideas and comprehensively explore the issues and concerns raised. In each session, participants will be asked about their travel habits, transportation concerns, and specific road safety worries. The insights gathered will inform policy recommendations related to road safety, transportation equity, and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. They will also guide future research efforts, including a more extensive survey to better understand how experiences with road collisions affect travel behavior.
Status: In Progress