Exploring First-Order Approximation of Energy Equivalence of Safety at Intersections: Preprint

Lei Zhu, Stanley Young, Christopher Day

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper


Maintaining safety is the most critical issue for a transportation system. Other considerations, albeit of secondary importance to safety, include energy use and delay. Quantifying the economic and societal costs of traffic crashes is an important area of study, and covers financial, energy and human impact considerations. Consequences of crashes include losses associated with crash-induced congestion, costs due to equipment damage and loss, and human injury and death. This study establishes the GDP-weighted energy equivalence of safety - encompassing the energy consumption associated with crashes. It proposes a framework for this calculation by extracting an equivalency rate from national-level statistics on total energy consumption of the transportation sector. Combining this with estimates of total direct and indirect costs of all crashes permits an estimation of their total GDP-weighted energy equivalence. The framework is demonstrated with an example calculation for the U.S. highway system in 2010. The results imply the tremendous potential energy value of technologies that promise to reduce or eliminate crashes.
Original languageAmerican English
Number of pages15
StatePublished - 2019
Event2019 International Conference on Transportation & Development - Alexandria, Virginia
Duration: 6 Jun 201912 Jun 2019


Conference2019 International Conference on Transportation & Development
CityAlexandria, Virginia

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/CP-5400-73405


  • crashes at intersections
  • economic cost
  • energy consumption
  • energy equivalence of safety
  • societal cost


Dive into the research topics of 'Exploring First-Order Approximation of Energy Equivalence of Safety at Intersections: Preprint'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this