Linking Mileage to Auto Accident Risk and Urban Form

The proposed research combines spatially detailed information about vehicle miles traveled (VMT), urban form, and automobile accidents in the most extensive analysis yet undertaken of mileage based risk and the influence of urban form. Pricing auto insurance on a per-mile basis could provide a beneficial, cost-based incentive to reduce vehicle miles traveled compared with traditional rating plans that charge annual premiums with little or no consideration of miles driven. However, interaction effects complicate attempts to demonstrate the potential benefit of mileage-based pricing. For example, geography and urban form can mask some of the mileage effect since urban motorists tend to drive fewer miles, but in riskier places. Multivariate analysis and large sample sizes are necessary to address the complexity of driver/place combinations and the infrequency of auto accidents. We combine spatially detailed GIS data layers for housing, infrastructure, and demographic factors with two unique Massachusetts State datasets for millions of vehicles in order to associate accident experience both with actual miles driven (for private passenger vehicles) and with driver and place-of-garaging characteristics. The work involves close collaboration with MassGIS (the State's GIS Office) and with the Boston Metropolitan Area Planning Council (MAPC), two key state and regional planning agencies involved in the policy analysis and modeling of land use, growth management, and transportation strategies for reducing greenhouse gas emissions. We estimate VMT for vehicles garaged in similar types of places (based on population and road density, proximity to highway/transit, and the like) and estimate the per-mile-driven claims costs both for traditional categories of drivers, rating territories and vehicle types, and for places with similar urban form. These per-mile estimates are then combined with price elasticity of demand for gasoline and with MAPC projections of regional growth in order to estimate the VMT savings from mileage-based insurance pricing and from alternative metropolitan growth scenarios.


    • English


    • Status: Completed
    • Contract Numbers:



    • Sponsor Organizations:

      Research and Innovative Technology Administration

      Department of Transportation
      1200 New Jersey Avneue, SE
      Washington, DC  United States  20590
    • Principal Investigators:

      Ferreira, Joseph

    • Start Date: 20090901
    • Expected Completion Date: 0
    • Actual Completion Date: 0
    • Source Data: RiP Project 31894

    Subject/Index Terms

    Filing Info

    • Accession Number: 01467317
    • Record Type: Research project
    • Source Agency: New England University Transportation Center
    • Contract Numbers: DTRT07-G-0001, MITR22-5
    • Files: UTC, RiP, USDOT
    • Created Date: Jan 3 2013 3:31PM