The Effects of Public-Private Partnerships on Traffic Safety: Evidence from Mexico

The United States is facing severe infrastructure financing problems. Revenues from fossil-fuel based taxes are declining as vehicles become more fuel efficient and as annual vehicle miles traveled declines. Many states and localities are increasing the role of private investors through public-private partnerships (PPP), and 31 states have now passed PPP enabling legislation. These concerns are particularly salient in the Northeastern part of the United States. Meanwhile, traffic safety, although improving, remains a critical concern in all regions. This study will combine these two areas of inquiry by examining the effects of private participation on traffic safety. The project will use a novel data set from Mexico, which has extensive PPP experience. The data set includes approximately 800 Mexican municipalities from 1997 to 2010, resulting in a panel of about 11,000 observations. The project can identify government versus PPP control over the kilometers of road within a municipality. The data allow us to control for a variety of independent variables. The project is able to include such variables as the class of accident, the condition of the driver, and the condition of the road surface, among others. There are 15 control variables overall. The expected effect of PPPs on road safety is ambiguous. PPPs may increase road safety if more resources are available for resurfacing, and if PPPs are incentivized through contracts to enhance safety. However, PPPs may reduce safety if private operators reduce road quality to increase profit maximize profits. The issue must be resolved empirically. Regarding methods, the study will begin with relatively simple statistical techniques such as ordinary least squares regression to estimate the determinants of traffic accidents and fatality rates. The project will include an indicator (dummy) variable for the type of operation: traditional or PPP. The project will include both time- and municipal-fixed effects, and will use robust standard errors. It is expected that this study will make a significant contribution to the literature on PPPs. This will be the first study to date to examine explicitly the effect of PPPs on traffic safety.


  • English


  • Status: Active
  • Contract Numbers:


  • Sponsor Organizations:

    Research and Innovative Technology Administration

    University Transportation Centers Program
    Washington, DC  USA  20590
  • Project Managers:

    Mooney, Deborah

  • Performing Organizations:

    Cornell University

    Department of City and Regional Planning
    Ithaca, NY  USA 
  • Principal Investigators:

    Geddes, Rick

  • Start Date: 20120901
  • Actual Completion Date: 20140831
  • Source Data: RiP Project 32938

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01495063
  • Record Type: Research project
  • Source Agency: University Transportation Research Center
  • Contract Numbers: 49997-46-24
  • Files: UTC, RiP
  • Created Date: Oct 8 2013 1:01AM