UConn research center sets new standard with crash data and analysis tool

Access to current and comprehensive crash data provides essential information for anyone seeking to improve the safety of road users and study crash locations and causes. However, this data is not widely available to transportation safety engineers, law enforcement, local and regional planning organizations, and elected officials. In an effort to address this information gap, the Connecticut Transportation Safety Research Center developed a repository to make crash data publicly accessible, accurate, and up-to-date for decision makers and the general public.

Unpacking the rise in traffic deaths

Traffic deaths shot up for the second straight year in 2016, according to recent estimates from the National Safety Council. To make better sense of what drove the increase in deaths, we compiled FARS data through 2015—the first year of the recent spike—and separated crashes by type. What does this all tell us? To begin with, there’s no silver bullet for improving road safety, short of reducing the amount we drive. Regulations, enforcement, and education aimed at young drivers and distracted driving could have a substantial impact if they are effective. But additional responsibility falls on road designers.

Data scientists target serious crashes in four U.S. cities

Microsoft has teamed with DataKind, a nonprofit organization that connects communities with skilled data scientists, to reduce traffic-related deaths and serious injuries in four U.S. cities. The effort, which first launched in New York City last August, will expand to San Jose, Seattle, and New Orleans. The DataKind Vision Zero project will harness public and private data to understand and prevent serious crashes in each city.

CMAP’s new tool elevates the urgency for innovative transportation solutions

While the state of transportation funding remains uncertain both at the national and state levels, the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning is taking an innovative approach to bring public awareness to the degrading transportation infrastructure within the seven-county Chicago metropolitan region. CMAP spent $82,000 to design a website that uses an immense amount of transportation data collected by the agency to create user-friendly visualizations of the challenges facing regional transportation systems.

Multiple mode switch – transportation’s digital revolution

There is a growing consensus that transportation agencies, especially transit agencies, should make schedule and arrival data more publically available to support the shift to a more seamless multimodal transportation system. This new system would offer multimodal travel options using a single platform, allowing the traveler to select a mode that best suits his or her needs on the spur of the moment. In addition, developing ways to make this data widely available to the public will make the system more efficient, as well as increase equity and accessibility across the socioeconomic spectrum.

Weak transportation data stifles analysis

The Dallas News writes that the Texas Department of Transportation is upset with a national recent report regarding the amount of its funding spent on roadway expansion versus preservation and maintenance. The disagreement is rooted in the way highway statistics are collected and presented. As noted in a previous SSTI article, Statewide Transportation Improvement Programs are often obscure about how funding for a given project is allocated. This makes it extremely difficult to evaluate states’ performance or compare states to one another.

App crash leaves Washington Metro riders in the lurch

Like most large transit system, the Washington Metropolitan Transit Authority makes its real-time data available to third-party developers, with the expectation that they will provide and update smartphone bus-arrival apps. In December, however, one of the most popular apps, NextBus DC, suddenly died. This failure highlights the emerging relationships between public agencies, private data service providers, and app developers. The public is often not aware who is responsible for the services they use.

From FHWA, a template

Recognizing the need for more attention to freight in the planning process, FHWA has developed a Statewide Freight Plan Template to help states include freight in their planning: “Today, one of the biggest challenges facing …