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 of gasoline prices 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 to 2007 at the county level in Minnesota to investigate the possibly different effects gasoline prices may have on traffic crashes per million vehicle miles traveled in urban versus rural areas. The results indicate that gasoline price effects on total crashes, property-damage-only crashes, and injury crashes are stronger in rural areas than in urban areas. Gasoline prices also significantly affect fatal crashes in both urban and rural areas; however, the difference is not significant. The results concerning the differences between urban and rural areas have important policy implications for traffic safety planners and decision makers.
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- Gasoline prices
- Traffic crashes
- Traffic safety
- Urban-rural difference