Predictive modeling of hourly probabilities for weather-related road accidents

Becker, Nico; Rust, Henning W.; Ulbrich, Uwe

Impacts of weather on road accidents have been identified in several studies with a focus mainly on monthly or daily accident counts. This study investigates hourly probabilities of road accidents caused by adverse weather conditions in Germany on the spatial scale of administrative districts using logistic regression models. Including meteorological predictor variables from radar-based precipitation estimates, high-resolution reanalysis and weather forecasts improves the prediction of accident probability compared to models without weather information. For example, the percentage of correctly predicted accidents (hit rate) is increased from 30 % to 70 %, while keeping the percentage of wrongly predicted accidents (false-alarm rate) constant at 20 %. When using ensemble weather forecasts up to 21 h instead of radar and reanalysis data, the decline in model performance is negligible. Accident probability has a nonlinear relationship with precipitation. Given an hourly precipitation sum of 1 mm, accident probabilities are approximately 5 times larger at negative temperatures compared to positive temperatures. The findings are relevant in the context of impact-based warnings for road users, road maintenance, traffic management and rescue forces.

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Becker, Nico / Rust, Henning W. / Ulbrich, Uwe: Predictive modeling of hourly probabilities for weather-related road accidents. 2020. Copernicus Publications.

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