4. Crash costs

This chapter contains updated average crash costs by crash severity across jurisdictions (i.e. taking into account injury severity),estimated using the hybrid human capital approach and the willingness to pay (WTP) approach.

4.1 Crash data

Crash data by injury type and crash severity were extracted from the Austroads crash data by jurisdiction as at 2010. The 2010 data were the most recent crash data collected from jurisdictions at the time of the update, and were subsequently cleaned and checked for consistency and reconciled as far as possible. The crash data per injury and crash severity were used to estimate the average cost of crashes per crash severity using the latest injury values for both human capital (HC) and willingness to pay (WTP) approaches outlined in this section. The Austroads crash data were obtained from data provided by road agencies across jurisdictions in Australia. Jurisdictions tend to collect data from police reports of crashes, although there is some variability. Police reporting differs between jurisdictions, as does the extent to which police officers attend crashes. Consequently, the crash data in this report refers to reported crashes only.

The steps undertaken in analysing the latest available (2010) crash data and using it to estimate the average cost of crashes by injury severity were:

  1. Classifying the jurisdictional crash data road environment (i.e. grouping crashes by rural, urban and urban freeways road environments). The rural road environment refers to mainly built-up undivided roads with speed limits of up to 80 km/h, mainly built-up and divided roads with speed limits of 100 km/h and above and mainly open roads with speed limits from 80 km/h. The urban road environment was defined as mainly built-up and divided roads with speed limits below 100 km/h and all roads with speed limits under 80 km/h. The urban freeway environment was defined as mainly built-up and divided roads with speed limits of 100 km/h and above
  2. Grouping by crash severity and road environment (i.e. fatal, serious and minor crashes on the different road environments). Crash severity classifications vary across jurisdictions; for example, New South Wales records fatal, injury, other and tow-away crashes. To standardise the analysis, crashes were classified as fatal, serious and other crashes for all jurisdictions except New South Wales
  3. Further classifying jurisdictional data by injury severity, crash severity and road environment. This showed the number of injuries and injury type by crash severity, such as the number of fatalities, medically treated, admitted to hospital, minor injuries and other injuries in fatal crashes
  4. Calculating the rate of injury per crash type by road environment (i.e. calculating the rate of fatalities per fatal crash or serious injuries per fatal crash, etc.)
  5. Injury rate per crash type was then used, along with the updated human capital and willingness to pay values per injury, to estimate the average cost of crashes by injury severity.

4.2 Casualty costs

Casualty costs across injury types were updated using both the human capital and the WTP approaches. These were then applied to the crash rates and crash severities to calculate an average cost of crashes for crash severity in Australia.

4.2.1 Human capital approach

The updated average casualty costs per person based on the 1996 values (BTE, 2000) and updated to June 2013 using appropriate indices are contained in Table 4.1. This is the same method used as in previous Austroads unit values updates (Austroads, 2012a). These values for casualty costs were then applied to the crash data per crash severity to estimate the average cost of crashes for Australia in 2013[1].

Table 13: Average casualty costs per person, June 2013
Cost componentFatal crashSerious injury crashOther injury crashPrice indexFatal crashSerious injury crashOther injury crash
 $ per person – June 1996 values $ per person – June 2013 values
Human costs
Ambulance costs 254 254 138 2.0071 510 510 277
Hospital in-patient costs 1,373 5,493 28 2.0071 2,756 11,026 56
Other medical costs 1,018 8,246 40 2.0071 2,043 16,552 80
Long-term care - 62,395 - 2.0071 0 125,246 0
Labour in the workplace 347,208 16,417 - 2.1092 732,187 34,620 0
Labour in the household 288,832 13,689 - 2.1092 609,085 28,867 0
Quality of life 319,030 34,228 1,819 2.1092 672,766 72,180 3,836
Insurance claims 12,000 21,147 1,264 1.5413 18,495 32,592 1,948
Criminal prosecution 1,548 448 55 1.5413 2,386 690 85
Correctional services 8,511 - - 1.5413 13,117 0 0
Workplace disruptions 8,077 8,301 538 1.5413 12,449 12,794 829
Funeral 1,700 - - 1.5413 2,620 0 0
Coroner 558 - - 1.5413 860 0 0
Total human cost 990,109 170,618 3,882   2,069,274 335,078 7,111
Vehicle costs
Repairs 8,528 7,126 7,032 1.5934 13,585 11,352 11,202
Unavailability of vehicles 1,082 960 507 1.5934 1,724 1,529 808
Towing 254 226 119 1.5934 405 360 190
Total vehicle costs 9,864 8,312 7,658   15,714 13,241 12,200
General costs
Travel delays 47,678 57,704 75 1.5413 73,483 88,935 116
Insurance administration 30,553 36,979 48 1.5413 47,089 56,993 74
Police 6,147 2,112 32 1.5413 9,474 3,255 49
Property 990 1,198 2 1.5413 1,526 1,846 3
Fire 323 391 1 1.5413 498 603 2
Total general costs 85,691 98,384 158   132,069 151,632 244
Total combined costs 1,085,664 277,314 11,698   2,217,057 499,951 19,554
  1. Health CPI
  2. Average weekly earnings include all employees’ total earnings (full-time plus part-time) for May 2013 as obtained from the ABS (2013)
  3. CPI all groups
  4. CPI motor vehicle repairs and servicing

Source: Adapted from BTE (2000) by ARRB Group Ltd.

The revised estimate of a property damage only crash based on BTE (2000) data is $9,257 as at June 2013.

4.2.2 Willingness to pay (WTP) approach

Crash costs per injury type derived from WTP values are contained in Table 4.2. The WTP values estimated by the RTA NSW in 2008 were updated as an interim measure until a national WTP study is undertaken; this was in line with the methodology for interim estimates outlined in Austroads (2015). These values were then applied to the appropriate crash data to estimate crash costs using the WTP values. The WTP average crash cost values estimated by TfNSW in their appraisal guidelines (TfNSW, 2013a)[2] were also updated and included in the WTP average crash costs presented in Table 4.7. Additional costs as compiled by BITRE for emergency services and other costs were then added to the WTP values as the ‘inclusive’ WTP values and these are presented in Table 4.3. These injury costs were then applied to the crash data to calculate average crash costs presented in Table 4.8.

Table 14: Estimated costs by injury type using the willingness to pay (WTP) approach (June $2013)
Injury severityUrban ($)Non-urban ($)
Value of statistical life (VSL) 7,425,629 7,342,167
Value of serious injury (VSI) 361,733 226,025
Value of hospitalised injuries (VHI) 87,988 65,210
Value of minor injuries (VMI) 19,296 23,678

Source: ARRB Group Ltd adapted from Austroads (2015).

Table 15: Estimated costs by injury type using the inclusive willingness to pay (WTP) approach (June $2013)
Injury severityUrban ($)Non-urban ($)
Value of statistical life (VSL) 7,573,412 7,489,950
Value of serious injury (VSI) 526,606 390,898
Value of hospitalised injuries (VHI) 100,431 77,653
Value of minor injuries (VMI) 31,739 36,121

Source: ARRB Group Ltd adapted from Austroads (2015)

4.3 Estimation of average crash costs by injury severity

The updated average costs per crash calculated under the hybrid HC approach for Australia as a whole are set out in Table 4.4.

Table 16: Updated average crash costs using the human capital approach based on BITRE values, 2013
Crash severityFatalSerious injurySlight injuryPDO
Value ($2013) 2,463,432 629,484 22,992 9,257

Source: Adapted from BTE (2000)

The estimated average crash cost per crash severity for casualty crashes was also calculated for each jurisdiction using the updated human capital costs per injury severity and 2010 crash data. These values are contained in Table 4.6.

4.4 Estimation of crash costs by severity and speed zone

Crash costs across jurisdictions were estimated by severity and speed zone for urban freeways, urban roads and rural roads. These data are presented in Tables 4.9, 4.10 and 4.11 respectively. Not all jurisdictions had sufficient data for the estimation of crash costs for all speed zones. Also, the estimates for crash costs for the same crash severity varied across jurisdictions. The estimates were also undertaken using human capital values only for the purposes of this update due to these variations.

The data were also sufficient for the estimation of crash costs for classification of crashes according to DCA codes, although there was significant variation in average crash costs across and within DCA codes. These data are available on request and should be used with appropriate awareness and understanding of this variation.

4.5 Crash rates

The calculation of crash rates was undertaken by Austroads over some years for both Australia and by individual jurisdictions in Jurewicz & Bennett (2008) and Austroads (2010a). The data provide crash rates by mid-block and intersections for both urban and rural situations. It is recommended that practitioners consult these publications for appropriate crash rates for their analyses.

4.6 Crash reduction and mitigation factors

Crash reduction (and mitigation) factors have been published in Austroads (2012b) for a range of treatment types[3]. These were also published as a complement to crash reduction factors for Black Spot Treatments published in Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government (2009) Black Spot Evaluation Notes on Administration. It is recommended that practitioners consult these publications for crash reduction and mitigation factors relevant to their analysis.

4.7 Life-long injury costs

The cost of life-long injuries is also significant but is currently not included in the costs of serious injury. The lifetime costs per incident case estimated in Access Economics (2009) for spinal cord injuries and paraplegia and quadriplegia were updated to $2013 using the CPI for medical and hospital services and the National Accounts Implicit Price Deflator for Health to provide some idea of the extent of these costs. These values are contained in Table 4.5. It must be noted they have not been included in the estimates compiled for these Guidelines, but there is considerable merit in considering how the costs of long term injury (care costs) might be taken into account in future. Additional data would be required on relevant crash rates and the costs of long term care.

Table 17: Lifetime costs per incident case, Australia ($2013)
Injury type$2008 values ($m)$2013 values ($m) using CPI medical & health services$2013 values ($m) using implicit price deflator for health
Spinal cord injuries (SCI) 4.9 6.8 6.1
Paraplegia and quadriplegia 7.6 10.5 9.4

Source: Adapted from Access Economics (2009)

Table 18: Estimation of crash costs by injury severity, Human Capital (HC) values, June $2013
StateRuralUrbanUrban freewayTotal
 Fatal crash ($)Serious injury crash ($)Other injury crash ($)Fatal crash ($)Serious injury crash ($)Other injury crash ($)Fatal crash ($)Serious injury crash ($)Other injury crash ($)Fatal crash ($)Serious injury crash ($)Other injury crash ($)
New South Wales 2,875,402 588,546 2,538,351 546,231 2,607,771 574,426 2,772,853 537,864
Victoria 2,843,808 628,914 26,217 2,521,384 562,234 24,550 2,860,449 596,339 25,242 2,715,548 578,847 24,707
Queensland 2,728,617 642,035 25,822 2,456,692 595,803 23,760 2,417,038 602,434 25,760 2,622,924 608,184 24,217
South Australia 2,826,043 610,963 26,080 2,385,285 553,306 23,479 2,569,913 782,048 27,490 2,634,126 578,406 23,963
Western Australia 2,868,662 638,358 28,970 2,447,722 583,884 26,900 2,617,019 646,690 28,149 2,707,518 300,437 26,878
Tasmania 2,568,291 579,621 28,381 2,351,823 533,536 24,696 2,217,057 699,655 28,245 2,502,099 563,854 26,107
Northern Territory 2,803,648 664,275 24,241 2,945,056 620,768 23,343 2,864,360 520,685 31,109 2,847,136 635,163 24,266
Australian Capital Territory       2,857,595 536,679              

Source: ARRB Group Ltd.

Table 19: Estimation of crash costs by injury severity, WTP values, June $2013
StateRuralUrban
Fatal crash
($) 
Serious injury crash ($)Other injury crash ($)Fatal crash
($)
Serious injury crash ($)Other injury crash ($)
New South Wales 7,848,085 216,675 6,476,155 136,505
Victoria 8,319,000 289,604 31,747 8,217,515 407,930 24,226
Queensland 8,059,080 294,906 31,268 7,741,326 436,471 23,446
South Australia 8,725,853 297,940 31,580 7,625,611 424,018 23,169
Western Australia 8,537,385 294,498 35,079 7,796,363 423,650 26,544
Tasmania 8,087,424 267,428 34,368 7,525,710 386,849 25,831
Northern Territory 8,043,372 302,628 29,353 8,439,525 449,694 23,035
Australian Capital Territory       8,982,223 389,365  

Source: ARRB Group Ltd.

Table 20: Estimation of crash costs by injury severity, inclusive WTP values, June $2013
StateRuralUrban
 Fatal crash
($)
Serious injury crash ($)Other injury crash ($)Fatal crash
($)
Serious injury crash ($)Other injury crash ($)
New South Wales[4] 7,848,085 216,675 6,476,155 136,505
New South Wales[5] 8,947,869 543,335 8,298,633 659,881
Victoria 8,611,365 499,138 48,429 8,409,584 594,663 39,848
Queensland 8,331,930 507,261 47,699 7,955,196 633,652 38,566
South Australia 8,905,039 504,427 48,175 7,780,230 611,175 38,110
Western Australia 8,820,027 507,601 53,513 8,001,286 617,588 43,661
Tasmania 8,302,092 460,750 52,429 7,720,934 563,748 42,488
Northern Territory 8,343,480 522,627 44,779 8,780,310 655,048 37,888
Australian Capital Territory       9,233,736 567,583  

Includes vehicle and general costs, e.g. vehicle towing, emergency services, administrative, etc, as calculated under the Human Capital approach.

Source: ARRB Group Ltd.

Table 21: Average cost of crashes by crash severity and speed zone per jurisdiction (HC values): urban freeway, June $2013
Speed zone (km/h)100 km/h110 km/h
JurisdictionFatal crash
($)
Serious injury crash ($)Other injury crash
($)
Fatal crash
($)
Serious injury crash ($)Other injury crash
($)
New South Wales 1,206,207 315,145 955,254 372,809
Victoria 991,683 242,614 25,242 - 280,195 25,242
Queensland 1,640,750 542,644 16,861 - - -
South Australia - 259,958 54,031 1,118,306 777,702 27,490
Western Australia 1,409,459 646,690 56,298 - - 56,298
Tasmania 2,217,057 687,433 26,507 - 687,433 27,502
Northern Territory 1,430,225 493,221 22,221 - 519,180 22,221

Source: ARRB Group Ltd.

Table 22: Average cost of crashes by crash severity and speed zone per jurisdiction (HC values): urban road, June $2013
Speed zone (km/h)< 50 km/h50 km/h60 km/h70 km/h80 km/h
JurisdictionFatal crash
($)
Serious injury crash ($)Other injury crash ($)Fatal crash
($)
Serious injury crash ($)Other injury crash ($)Fatal crash
($)
Serious injury crash ($)Other injury crash ($)Fatal crash
($)
Serious injury crash ($)Other injury crash ($)Fatal crash
($)
Serious injury
crash
($)
Other injury crash ($)
New South Wales 2,330,338 - - 2,396,664 624,281 - 1,045,673 582,918 - 1,139,960 608,057 - 1,481,236 1,091,367 -
Victoria 811,472 245,184 24,550 1,223,785 279,233 24,550 1,040,310 253,489 25,561 1,252,194 253,929 24,550 1,105,994 223,964 24,550
Queensland 1,761,617 561,080 15,282 - - - 1,543,810 537,680 15,282 1,566,233 514,572 15,282 - - -
South Australia - 509,522 23,479 1,576,703 446,454 23,479 1,557,525 447,367 23,479 2,275,401 367,213 23,479 2,275,401 457,774 23,479
Western Australia 1,222,370 579,366 26,900 2,024,751 498,515 26,900 1,807,806 471,782 25,883 1,116,863 480,463 26,900 1,528,694 483,355 26,939
Tasmania - 530,436 24,696 2,217,057 530,436 24,332 2,217,057 516,100 24,321 2,217,057 530,436 24,412 - - -
Northern Territory - 618,690 18,332 2,401,812 542,951 18,332 1,231,695 565,061 18,332 1,604,584 618,690 18,332 - - -

Source: ARRB Group Ltd.

Table 23: Average cost of crashes by crash severity and speed zone per jurisdiction (HC values): rural road, June $2013
Speed zone (km/h)80 km/h90 km/h100 km/h110 km/h
JurisdictionFatal crash ($)Serious injury crash ($)Other injury crash ($)Fatal crash ($)Serious injury crash ($)Other injury crash ($)Fatal crash ($)Serious injury crash ($)Other injury crash ($)Fatal crash ($)Serious injury crash ($)Other injury crash ($)
New South Wales 1,432,929 458,899 - 1,337,764 351,451 - 1,386,168 484,664 - 2,010,614 462,809 -
Victoria 894,166 332,792 26,217 1,640,421 295,238 21,017 1,152,344 357,459 26,217 851,010 375,091 26,217
Queensland 1,548,496 590,370 14,677 - - - 1,494,690 593,020 14,708 - - -
South Australia 2,116,449 464,397 26,080 2,632,756 519,892 26,080 1,557,606 500,275 26,080 1,718,791 513,049 26,080
Western Australia 1,431,823 499,432 28,970 1,624,585 415,669 28,970 1,635,677 526,016 28,970 1,524,414 505,746 26,548
Tasmania 1,543,962 397,174 28,381 815,091 572,525 28,381 536,346 430,068 27,711 921,529 491,750 29,717
Northern Territory 1,457,504 612,205 19,554 2,369,958 567,186 19,554 1,551,542 661,226 19,554 1,521,661 18,138 19,554

Source: ARRB Group Ltd.

[1] Also see BTRE (2010) for the Hybrid human capital approach. However, for the ATAP parameter values, the methodology for the update of injury costs was kept the same as for Austroads (2012a), i.e. 1996 base values updated, in line with the human capital approach. This is also explained in Austroads (2011a).

[2] The WTP crash costs estimated for the RTA NSW in 2008 (see Austroads, 2015) were subsequently revised to include weighted averages for cars and pedestrians (RTA, 2008) and used as the basis for the estimate crash costs in TfNSW (2013a), taking account of revised urban and rural crash rates and severities. These values updated to June 2013 have also been published in Table 4.7. It must be noted that the revised values are higher in the case of rural injuries due to the weighting of crash severities applied. This in turn results in higher rural average cost of crashes if the revised injury costs are applied to crash data due to higher rural crash severities.

[3] Treatment types include: delineation (e.g. pavement or line markings), intersection treatments (e.g. installation of give way signs or roundabouts), railway level crossings (e.g. signage or barriers), road geometry and design (e.g. overtaking lanes), roadside (e.g. installation of guardrails), signage (e.g. variable message or warning signs), pedestrian (e.g. phasing at signals, pedestrian crossing), speed and enforcement (e.g. speed cameras, speed changes) and traffic management (e.g. medians, traffic calming). A level of confidence is also provided for each crash reduction or mitigation factor per treatment type in Austroads (2012b).

[4] Note values for NSW are as published in the TfNSW project appraisal guidelines, TfNSW (2013a), where it is assumed that all costs are included in the WTP values. Hence, the Inclusive WTP values for NSW remain the same.

[5] These values for NSW were compiled using RTA NSW (2008) values (incl. additional costs) and NSW crash data as per all other jurisdictions. This approach was accepted as an interim approach in Austroads (2015) until a national WTP study is undertaken for Australia.