UK-based researcher picks up international award

11.10 | 10 May 2018 | | 2 comments

Dr George Ursachi, a senior research analyst at Agilysis, has been named the International Transport Forum’s 2018 Young Researcher of the Year.

The award, which will be presented to Dr Ursachi at the 2018 Summit of Transport Ministers in Leipzig on 24 May, is for his ‘innovative’ statistical analysis identifying the drivers who are most likely to be involved in alcohol-related crashes.

The International Transport Forum (ITF) says Dr Ursachi’s findings provide a ‘highly nuanced picture’, which will help to target high-risk groups with ‘precisely tailored interventions’.

To profile drivers most likely to drive under the influence of alcohol, Dr Ursachi used a dataset of 612,221 drivers who were involved in reported injury collisions in the UK between 2011 and 2015. Of these, 24 577 drivers (4%) had had their driving ability impaired by alcohol.

This dataset was merged with a widely used consumer classification database, Mosaic, which groups the UK population into 66 ‘types’ based on socio-demographic and behaviour characteristics.

The analysis confirms previous research findings that the typical drink driver involved in injury collisions in the UK is a ‘young adult male, driving a car in the dark on a dry, rural, single carriageway, non-main road’.

However, Dr Ursachi’s detailed analysis found that 26 of the 66 Mosaic ‘types’ have a significantly higher-than-average likelihood to drink-drive.

These include:

  • ‘Streetwise Singles’ – hard-pressed singles in urban and fringe locations searching for opportunities
  • ‘Midlife Stopgap’ type drivers – maturing singles in employment renting short-term affordable homes
  • ‘Rural Vogue’ types – country-loving families pursuing a rural idyll while commuting to work
  • ‘Village retirement’ – retirees enjoying pleasant village locations with all amenities

Dr Ursachi said: “The specifics of these different types enable decision makers to have a better understanding of their target audience. They make it possible to create more effective public education campaigns and interventions.”

Young Tae Kim, secretary-general of the International Transport Forum, said: “George Ursachi’s work is a showcase for how creative use of data can improve public policy.

“His analysis opens new possibilities to combat the scourge of drink-driving that causes thousands of deaths and serious injuries every year. This is number crunching that can truly save lives.”

The winning entry was chosen from 21 submissions by a jury of international road safety experts. Dr Ursachi’s paper is part of a project on ‘Behaviour Change in Road Safety’ that will use similar approaches to other crash-causing factors, including speeding and distracted driving.

Click here to read Dr Ursachi’s paper.


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    It will be interesting to see what the respective ‘precisely tailored interventions’
    might be for the rather widely-defined demographic groups i.e. ‘Streetwise Singles’ ‘Midlife Stopgap’ ‘Rural Vogue’ and ‘Village retirement’. Add in the ‘young adult male, driving a car in the dark on a dry, rural, single carriageway, non-main road’ and that’s quite a lot of potential drink-drivers to target.

    Hugh Jones
    Agree (2) | Disagree (3)

    Well done, George! Proud to have you in the team!

    Tanya Fosdick, Banbury
    Agree (3) | Disagree (1)

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