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Thesis Format

Integrated Article


Master of Science


Geography and Environment


Gilliland, Jason

2nd Supervisor

Long, Jed



Motor vehicle collisions are the leading cause of death for children and youth worldwide. To effectively target interventions to improve child safety, it is necessary to identify where motor vehicle collisions occur most often and what factors make these areas more hazardous. Study #1 maps collisions in London, Ontario (2010-2019) and identifies hotspots using a network kernel density estimation method within a GIS. Logistic regression analysis revealed that bike lanes were negatively associated with hotspots, while sidewalks were positively associated. Study #2 estimated children’s risk of being exposed to a motor vehicle collision while commuting to and from school, by combining collision risk data from study #1 with modelled student pedestrian volumes. Results suggest current crossing guard locations in London are not optimally deployed and should be relocated to the riskiest areas for student pedestrians. The findings of this thesis suggest that certain built environment characteristics have a significant influence on collision hotspots and should be considered in future road safety policy.

Summary for Lay Audience

Motor vehicle collisions are the leading cause of death for young people worldwide. To address this issue, we need to understand the factors causing severe motor vehicle collisions. We also need to identify the environments where young people face the greatest risk. First, motor vehicle collisions that occurred in London, Ontario were mapped. The concentration of these collisions were calculated to locate the areas with the most motor vehicle collision occurrence. When looking at areas around these high risk locations, we identified several factors that could be influencing the motor vehicle collisions. In particular, we found that bike lanes can lower collision occurrence and that sidewalks have increase motor vehicle collisions. Second, we estimated which roads and intersections children in London used to walk to school using home and school locations. The high risk locations that we identified previously were compared to areas with many students walking to school. We found that there were several areas that had many motor vehicle collisions and a higher number of students. Additionally, a majority of these areas were unsupervised. The current safety measures in London may need to be changed to ensure roads are safe for everyone. We have identified factors that may be causing and reducing motor vehicle collisions in London. The areas where children face the greatest collision risk were also identified. These findings provide a better understanding of motor vehicle collisions in London and should inform future methods to make roads safer.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

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