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Simultaneous modelling of multiple traffic safety performance indicators by using a multivariate generalized linear mixed model

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Traffic safety in the UK is one of the increasing number of areas where central government sets targets based on ‘outcome-focused’ performance indicators (PIs). Judgments about such PIs are often based solely on rankings of raw indicators and simple league tables dominate centrally published analyses. There is a considerable statistical literature examining health and education issues which has tended to use the generalized linear mixed model (GLMM) to address variability in the data when drawing inferences about relative performance from headline PIs. This methodology could obviously be applied in contexts such as traffic safety. However, when such models are applied to the fairly crude data sets that are currently available, the interval estimates generated, e.g. in respect of rankings, are often too broad to allow much real differentiation between the traffic safety performance of the units that are being considered. Such results sit uncomfortably with the ethos of ‘performance management’ and raise the question of whether the inference from such data sets about relative performance can be improved in some way. Motivated by consideration of a set of nine road safety performance indicators measured on English local authorities in the year 2000, the paper considers methods to strengthen the weak inference that is obtained from GLMMs of individual indicators by simultaneous, multivariate modelling of a range of related indicators. The correlation structure between indicators is used to reduce the uncertainty that is associated with rankings of any one of the individual indicators. The results demonstrate that credible intervals can be substantially narrowed by the use of the multivariate GLMM approach and that multivariate modelling of multiple PIs may therefore have considerable potential for introducing more robust and realistic assessments of differential performance in some contexts.
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Keywords: Generalized linear mixed model; Markov chain Monte Carlo methods; Multivariate modelling; Performance indicators; Road casualties; Traffic safety

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1University of Exeter, UK

Publication date: 2004-08-01

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