Table of Contents
The relationship between traffic resilience and coastal flooding is of significant importance, especially for regions like the Bay Area, which are vulnerable to rising sea levels due to climate change. These issues cause extreme flood events within the area. Combined with population growth, they also trigger disruptions in the transportation system. Metro areas experience high traffic congestion. Small changes in traffic flow can cause a disturbance. Closing one road due to flooding has a ripple effect throughout the entire network. This ripple will cause region-wide delays.
Traffic resilience is the ability to withstand traffic disruptions. Areas with dense road networks have higher resilience to flood-related delays. Resilience also addresses traffic accidents during morning commutes. Coastal floods in San Francisco happen when multiple storm surges, tides, inter-annual anomalies, or seasonal cycles cause extreme water levels. The study by Indraneel Kasmalkar and Jenny Suckale addresses these concerns for the years 2020-2040.
Within the study, researchers also considered socioeconomic status, community makeup, and traffic volume as these characteristics can impact accident rates. There is evidence that traffic volume and accident rates have a direct relationship. Looking at them separately and together as a complete picture is essential. When reviewing accident rates, it is important to factor in road safety precautions, pedestrian volume, and driver characteristics.
Another concern is drivers who do not take alternative routes when their usual path is flooded. Some motorists will drive through the floods, increasing the probability of hydroplaning. Wet road conditions are a significant problem overall. Speeding and reckless driving are worse when the roads are wet or it is raining.
Accidents involving the weather are very complex. Whether in a car accident from regular storms or coastal flooding, you need options. Victims assume they have no options when the weather is to blame. However, drivers must adjust their driving to the weather. The city and other governments must also ensure the road is safe.
Victims should also be aware of their legal options when accidents happen. Many nuances are involved in the claims process. Arash Law, founded by famous attorney Arash Khorsandi, Esq., is familiar with these complications. Our California car accident lawyers can discuss your next steps.
Analyzing Clear Traffic Patterns in Coastal California
The study has substantial data about the correlation between traffic resilience and coastal flooding. While the data used was collected from 2013-2019, it will help Bay Area locals see what they can expect in the future. Primarily, the data focuses on various California communities during specific times. The five time periods are 5 AM to 6 AM, 6 AM to 7 AM, 7 AM to 8 AM, 8 AM to 9 AM, and 9 AM to 10 AM. These are prime commuting times throughout the state, which helps recreate traffic at the time and considers coastal flooding. The graphs and models can show the difference between coastal flooding and when there is no flooding. The study aims to show the need for road safety and city planning.
Dividing the Region into Communities
The first step in the research is to divide the region into communities. The Census is a starting point. Using San Francisco as the focus of coastal flooding and car accident studies, there are 72 communities. There is a good balance of community makeup and data. The more prominent communities are Oakland, Santa Ana, San Jose, San Francisco, and Napa. These are then cut down even further.
The area you live in and how the lines are drawn can impact you in many ways. The more accidents there are in a region, the more dangerous it is for those living there. When there are more car accidents in the area, it can increase insurance rates. It also makes the streets dangerous for pedestrians and bicyclists. Fortunately, many of these accidents are preventable.
Many communities are tight-knit. Residents know when to slow down and other quirks of the area. A commuter passing through due to flooding or another detour does not. Their lack of knowledge and rush to get to work are dangerous. They will drive the same as on the highway, endangering others. Talk to a San Francisco car accident attorney from Arash Law, operated by Arash Khorsandi, Esq.
Traffic Patterns and Flooding
Using a traffic model by Kasmalkar et al., researchers can simulate traffic patterns in different regions. The model is so good that it can show traffic in individual road segments. You can think of it as a GPS that shows red for heavy traffic, yellow for some traffic, etc. The model uses traffic data and work-home locations for people in the region for accurate results. It will assign and review data for commutes using the shortest route in batches.
The study does not account for public transportation and only considers private vehicles. Additionally, it does not account for stop signs, tolls, carpool lanes, and traffic signals. Shockingly, it does not consider the delays caused by traffic accidents. The model studies traffic patterns one hour at a time and considers overflow traffic from hour to hour.
The other research element is to consider how coastal flooding impacts traffic patterns. The first step is to find the roads that will likely face closures due to flooding. Using the model, the researchers overlayed coastal flood maps. These maps help identify which roads will shut down and where traffic will be directed instead.
Some communities are aware that they will see detours when flooding happens. In other communities, we do not know until it happens. If you know heavy rain is coming, you can prepare your home. People forget to consider the roundabouts that drivers will make through the area. Collisions can happen in an instant, especially when people are in danger. A driving error can lead to life-altering consequences for you. If you are a crash victim, you need a car accident lawyer in San Francisco to help you.
The Statistical Relationship Between Traffic Volume And Accident Rate
Now that there is a little background on the study and what the findings can be, it is time for the next part. Accidents can happen at any time. Flooding can also occur unexpectedly. However, for the basis of this study, the data is only relevant to the period between 5 AM to 10 AM. It is a period with the most traffic, and the statistics can trickle down for the rest of the day. It is said that 90 percent of California’s workforce is on the road during these times.
Statistics focus on the San Francisco Bay Area and its nine counties. There is a map of the accident locations in each community. The study will find the hourly non-highway accident rate using a formula that addresses all the data. Some communities did not have sufficient data for the formula, leaving us with results for 64 out of 72 communities. For pedestrian accidents, there is data for 45 of the 72 communities.
Limitations on Accuracy and Implications for Traffic Accident Victims
For this study, the accuracy depends on the model and the data. One issue with accuracy is the time frames and the lack of flooding data during those times. Construction site delays and other hazards are not considered in the study.
The lack of these considerations impacts the expected commute time for individuals by a few minutes. The study adjusts for three minutes per mile to make up for this difference. Accident victims can look at these models all day, and it will mean nothing. They only know that they suffered an injury and that someone else was the cause.
While these studies can help serve as evidence, they don’t change the injuries that the victims suffer from. Government agencies can also use this data for city planning. If the local government is aware of a problem area susceptible to flooding, they can do something about it. Instead of reacting and sending people in other directions, they can change the roads. When government agencies fail to keep people safe, they are held accountable for accidents. Discuss your options with a California car accident lawyer today.
Uncertainty in Modeled Traffic Volumes
Further in the study, researchers conducted 20 traffic simulations. These were conducted for 72 communities. The goal is to find the standard deviation of traffic volumes. The data is specific to the hours of 5 AM to 10 AM. They cut it down to an hourly variation. The standard deviation for the community studies ranges from 0 to 80 percent, with the slightest difference between 5 AM and 6 AM. The standard deviation is highest between 9 AM and 10 AM.
The deviations are significant because the earlier it is in the morning, the less traffic there is. At 5 AM., there is less traffic, and the cars can flow. It also means fewer accidents or delays. However, the danger that exists is fatigue. These drivers are on the road at this time, meaning they wake up much earlier to get ready. Even with fewer cars out, the danger is still present.
Conversely, everyone is in a rush during that final hour of 9 AM to 10 AM, causing congestion. Drivers cannot free flow. They are often stuck in one place, which does not make it safer to drive. Tensions are higher during this period, causing road rage incidents. People trying to get to work will drive recklessly and aggressively. These factors make this hour unpredictable and dangerous.
Results – Are The Factors Related?
A lot of data is considered in the study. For some, the results of the study validate what they see outside their window. For others, the results can be shocking. In either case, if you are in a crash, you must speak to a car accident lawyer in The Bay Area. The data can also range for each community with overall trends. These results can help in car accident cases, depending on their use and where the collision occurs.
Accident Rates Increase with Traffic Volume
The more cars on the road, the more likely an accident will occur. The most significant traffic volumes happen from 8 AM to 9 AM. The study offers the highest uncertainty of data from 9 AM to 10 AM. This hour is unique because it consists of spillover traffic. Most people start work at 9 AM, so traffic should die down after work. However, if there was a hazard at 7:45 AM, it could cause spillover traffic until 10 AM.
While 72 communities comprise the Bay Area, 64 of them had enough data for the study. The study shows that 40 communities have increasing linear profiles, 14 have inverted U-shaped profiles, and 10 have U-shaped profiles, meaning all the communities have an increased accident rate when there is additional traffic volume. We must also consider traffic infrastructure that is not part of these results.
Pedestrian accidents have different results. Only 45 communities had enough data on the topic. Twenty-four communities have a linear increasing profile, 11 have an inverted U-shape profile, and ten have a quadratic U-shaped profile. Again, pedestrians are safer when there are fewer cars on the road. However, pedestrian accidents must also consider walkability. The local municipality should make the area safe for pedestrians.
Coastal Flooding Exacerbates Peak-Hour Accident Rates
Coastal flooding has an impact on the Bay Area. It can lead to the closure of low-lying roads and disrupt traffic. To find the effect of flooding on traffic, researchers used regression curves. The first step is to establish a baseline for accident rates. Some baseline data include:
- One accident occurs every 20 days between 6 AM and 7 AM.
- Communities with high car accident rates are in the southern Bay Area.
- Northern communities have low car accident rates.
- Communities have higher accident rates between 8 AM and 9 AM.
- Eastern and southwestern regions have the highest accident rates.
One method to find accident rates during flooding is to estimate road closures. It requires simulating traffic patterns and using regression curves. Car accident rates are higher with flooding than without. The most considerable increase is in eastern and southwestern communities during the period of 6 AM to 7 AM.
From 8 AM to 9 AM, accident rates were higher than during the 6 AM and 7 AM periods. Napa, San Jose, and Santa Rosa saw substantial increases. Flooding has increased accident rates during 6 AM to 7 AM and 8 AM to 9 AM. Flooding exacerbates rush hour accidents. After a rush hour incident, contact the California car accident lawyers from Arash Law, under the guidance of Arash Khorsandi, Esq.
Pedestrian Accidents During Peak Hours
A similar analysis was conducted for pedestrian accidents. The first step was finding a baseline for the area and then adding flooding. Pedestrian accidents are lower in most of the communities in the study. However, most pedestrian accidents are concentrated in San Jose, Oakland, and San Francisco. Findings include:
- Pedestrian accident rates increase slightly with flooding between 6 AM and 7 AM.
- Pedestrian rates are highest between 8 AM and 9 AM with flooding.
- Most pedestrian accidents happen near Oakland, Napa, Santa Rosa, and San Francisco.
Pedestrian accidents have severe injuries when they involve motor vehicles. Some injuries pedestrians suffer include:
- Broken bones
- Back and neck injuries
You have the right to seek compensation for your injuries after an accident. These injuries require extensive treatment that can be very costly. Our California pedestrian accident lawyers can help you seek compensation for your losses.
Region-Wide Accident Rates Increase at Low Water Levels
Aside from flooding, water can impact accident rates at other levels. Low water levels can also increase pedestrian and car accidents. The research is for the same period of 5 AM to 10 AM. Accident rates without flooding were the lowest from 5 AM to 6 AM, and they increased gradually every hour. The baseline begins to dip from 9 AM to 10 AM. The 12-inch water levels have the same patterns as non-flooding. However, the severity of accidents is worse. The rates are:
- 7.5 accidents between 8 AM and 9 AM
- Six accidents between 9 AM and 10 AM
- 0.9 accidents between 5 AM and 6 AM
Accident rates increase more when the water levels rise to 24 and 36 inches. After that, accident rates begin to decrease. The most significant increase in accidents region-wide happens during 12-inch water levels. Pedestrian accident rates are lower than non-highway car accident rates. These lower rates can be attributed to lower baseline numbers. Pedestrian accidents account for one-fifth of non-highway collisions.
Essentially, non-highway accidents are higher on flood days. Pedestrian accidents are less conclusive because of a lack of data. The data from 2013 – 2019 only had seven days with high water levels. These studies can be a baseline for further research. These numbers can also help with your car accident claim.
Discussion on the Findings
Through this and other research, urban traffic systems are at risk of disruptions from coastal flooding and rising sea levels. The traffic systems are very complex. The current traffic system is non-linear and interconnected. One disruption can ripple through the network. The way to fight these impacts is through traffic resilience. However, determining traffic resilience is challenging.
Traffic resilience is measured in terms of travel time delays. It requires recreating regional traffic patterns and estimating changes in travel time. This study focuses on road safety and its impact on traffic resilience. The data focuses on commuters’ travel time. These factors show a partial picture of traffic resilience. Some findings show that communities with a high road network density can withstand flood-related delays.
High road network density helps flood-related resilience because of the alternative road capacity. The alternative routes can offset road closures and unexpected traffic increases. Southwestern communities have lower projected delays. These lower delays are regardless of the flooding of major highways near US-101. The issue arises when flooded roadways cause reroutes to local roads in residential communities.
Traffic Reroutes to Local Roads
When highway traffic reroutes to local roads, there is a spike in pedestrian and car accidents. Using local roads as alternative routes reduces the road safety of those communities. Significant increases happen in communities around major cities like Napa, Oakland, San Jose, Santa Rosa, and San Francisco. Pedestrian accidents are the highest in these major cities. Flooding causes the highest increase in accidents during peak-hour traffic because of the number of cars on the road.
Floods also cause regional changes in travel times. Travel time delays increase with water levels. Delays are low up to the 24-inch water level and are high for the 36-inch water level. These changes can be due to the closures that occur when flooding happens. The more water there is, the more roads the government must close. The Dumbarton Bridge stays open for the 24-inch water level but closes when we reach the 36-inch water level. Commuters must use a different bridge or alternative route when the bridge closes.
Car Accidents Increase In Residential Communities
Delays are one element that can impact a community. The increase in accidents can be a more devastating consequence. Led by Arash Khorsandi, Esq., Arash Law knows how devastating an accident is. Our California motor vehicle accident lawyers have helped victims recover over $500 million for decades. These accidents increase the most from 7 AM to 10 AM. The most significant accident increase happens when the water level rises from 0 to 12. The underlying cause is usually rerouted traffic that saturates local communities.
Why Do Local Communities Suffer?
When the water level increases, roads stay open, and few alternative routes are suggested, meaning drivers are making alternative routes, usually through residential communities. When the water level increases substantially, the local government will take action. They will close flooded roads and create alternate routes. However, these alternate routes do not go through residential areas, which means accidents in residential communities only slightly increase.
In the future, it is estimated that between 2020 and 2040, there will be an increase in coastal flood events. Densely populated communities close to major roadways and traffic corridors will be significantly impacted. For example, US-101 has a slight elevation above sea level and runs along the Bay’s western shore. Even a slight water level increase can cause delays and flooding. That will lead to reroutes to local roads and an increase in accidents.
Factors That Can Change These Findings
Many of the findings are based on historical data. However, society is changing, and commuting trends will continue to change. Autonomous vehicles, working from home, and climate change can impact these findings. Working from home frees up a lot of commute time. There are fewer vehicles on the road. The change of doing remote work began during the pandemic in the past few years and has stayed for many industries. The data to set the baseline was compiled before this drastic change, and it is uncertain how it will change the findings in the future.
The use of autonomous vehicles takes some of the pressure off drivers. They are relying on technology to handle the mundane task of driving. However, self-driving and autonomous cars have many issues since technology is known to fail. An autonomous car might brake when it shouldn’t and accelerate when it should brake, which can cause collisions. Since the car is driving itself, it also complicates the insurance claim process. You will need a good car accident lawyer in California to investigate the situation.
Climate change is a contentious topic. The government cannot agree on what to do. It can increase substantially if nothing is done. So the rising sea levels estimated now can drastically change in the next few years. Conversely, if the legislation passes to help with climate change, that will also impact the findings. Other factors that can influence these studies are:
- Day-to-day changes in traffic volumes
- School-related pedestrian activity
- Road conditions
- Temporary construction work
- Special events
- Other accidents
Even so, this study shows how flooding impacts road closures and alternate routes. Traffic is sent to residential communities, causing an uptick in accidents. These results are not just for the Bay Area but can apply to other regions. California coastlines and many areas see similar results. Wherever you are, if you are in a collision, you need help from Arash Law and its team, spearheaded by Arash Khorsandi, Esq.
Fighting for Your Rights After A Traffic Accident
The study concludes that coastal flooding puts a burden on communities. Commuters need to adjust their route so they can get to their destination. That often requires finding alternative routes in residential areas. That increases traffic volume and the possibility of an accident. Regardless of why the cars are there, you need to hold negligent drivers responsible. After an accident, you must file an insurance claim and recover compensation. Victims must take action.
The process of recovering compensation is not simple. The insurance company wants to keep the money for themselves. They don’t care that you have a valid claim. They only want to save their bottom line. After an accident, you will have many expenses to handle.
Any costs from the car accident should be included in your recovery claim, including:
- Medical bills – Injuries caused or exacerbated by accidents will require medical attention. You will have emergency medical treatment, ongoing care, rehabilitation services, and more.
- Property damage – Keep receipts for repairs or items that you replace, such as vehicles, bicycles, and personal property.
- Lost income – Lost income can include time off work immediately following the accident, follow-up medical appointments, and more. Taking a lower-paying position can lead to a difference in income. We can calculate these differences and address them in your claim.
- Mental and emotional suffering – The psychological implications of an accident can alter a person’s mental health. You will need psychological treatment and more. These expenses are part of your claim.
There are many losses that Arash Law, managed by Arash Khorandi, Esq., can uncover during an investigation. You must keep receipts, appointments, and anything relevant to the case. We will fight for your rights and your compensation.
Speak to A Re[putable California Car Accident Lawyer
Coastal flooding veers traffic from one populated area to smaller communities. These workarounds can be great for commuters to avoid flooding but can also increase accidents in those areas. A quiet street can quickly become full of cars and accidents. This short period will have long-term impacts.
Our California car accident lawyers understand how challenging coastal flooding makes life for everyone. If you suffer an injury from a car accident, you need legal help. Under the leadership of Arash Khorsandi, Esq., Arash Law serves clients in San Francisco, Riverside, Sacramento, San Jose, Los Angeles, San Diego, Sherman Oaks, and throughout California. We have collected over $500 million dollars for clients across the state. Call the office of Arash Law, led by Arash Khorandi, Esq., at (888) 488-1391 for help today.