Effects of road width, radii and speeds on collisions at three-arm priority intersections  

Mustafa Ekmekci, Lee Woods, Nima Dadashzadeh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Simulation and observational studies have identified the importance of intersection geometries and vehicle speeds in collisions. However, the causal mechanisms of such collisions in low-speed areas and for different collision types remain unclear. This observational study investigates the complex relationships between geometries, speeds, visibilities, and road traffic collisions in the context of low-speed urban areas. Data were collected from 120 three-arm priority intersections in Portsmouth, UK. In 2007, Portsmouth became the first city in the UK to adopt a 20mph speed limit on all residential streets. The city has also adopted the UK’s Manual for Streets (MfS) as the design standard for all new priority intersections in low-speed residential areas. Piecewise structural equation models (pSEM) were developed to represent the causal mechanisms that relate to geometries, speeds, speed limits and collisions. Findings indicate the role of combinations of approach lane width, corner radii, speed limit, and type of collision. The interaction of wider approach lanes on the minor arm and larger radii of turns for left-turning vehicles (left-hand driving perspective) was associated with higher numbers of road traffic collisions for right-turning vehicles. It is posited here that this is due to the orientation of the left-turning vehicle blocking the left visibility of the right-turning vehicle. These results give weight to the introduction of the 20mph speed limit zone in Portsmouth and some of the changes brought about by MfS. However, the combined effect of approach width and radii on collisions is novel and could form the basis of further guidance on reducing specific types of collisions at three-arm priority intersections.
Original languageEnglish
Article number107522
Number of pages10
JournalAccident Analysis & Prevention
Early online date8 Mar 2024
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2024


  • Visibility
  • Priority intersection
  • Safety
  • Collisions
  • 20 mph speed limit
  • 30 km/h speed limit
  • piecewise Structural Equation Modelling

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