The impact of gasoline price changes on traffic safety: A time geography explanation

Guangqing Chi, Jeremy R. Porter, Arthur G. Cosby, David Levinson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


The impact of gasoline price changes on traffic safety has received increasing attention in empirical studies. In this study, we use time geography to provide a theoretical framework for examining the effects of time-varying fluctuations in gasoline prices and their relationship to traffic safety in a case study of Mississippi from April 2004 to December 2010. Application of time geography theory suggests that gasoline prices act as one type of capability constraint of the space-time path. As gasoline prices increase (that is, as the capability constraint becomes stronger), we hypothesize traffic crash rates decrease, and they decrease more for groups for whom the constraint is stronger. The results corroborate the hypotheses and suggest that gasoline prices have stronger effects on reducing less severe crashes and negligible effects on reducing fatal crashes. Gasoline price effects on reducing crashes start at a 9-month lag, peak at a 12-month lag, and diminish after an 18-month lag.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-11
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Transport Geography
StatePublished - Apr 2013

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Transportation
  • Environmental Science(all)


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