Gasoline Price Effects on Traffic Safety in Urban and Rural Areas: Evidence from Minnesota, 1998–2007

Gasoline Price and Traffic Safety in Minnesota
Gasoline Price and Traffic Safety in Minnesota

Working paper:

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A large literature base has found that economic factors have important effects on traffic crashes. A small but growing branch of literature also examines the role that gasoline prices play in the occurrence of traffic crashes. However, no studies have investigated the possible difference of these effects between urban and rural areas. In this study, we used the monthly traffic crash data from 1998–2007 at the county level in Minnesota to investigate the possibly different effects gasoline prices may have on traffic crashes in urban versus rural areas. The results indicate significant difference of gasoline price effects on total crashes in urban versus rural areas. Gasoline prices also significantly affect the frequency of injury crashes in both urban and rural areas; however, the difference is not significant. Gasoline prices have no significant effects on the frequency of fatal crashes in urban and rural areas. Traffic volume plays a bigger role on the incidence of injury and fatal crashes. The results concerning the differences between urban and rural areas have important policy implications for traffic safety planners and decision makers