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Mapping tool to prevent traffic collisions

Berkeley, US: Researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, launched a tool for sorting through and mapping all of California’s fatal and serious traffic collisions. According to the University’s press statement, anyone with access to Internet can register for a free account to access the Transportation Injury Mapping System (TIMS) to perform customised searches of 130,000 serious and fatal crashes in the state. Users can view the history of crashes from 2000 to 2008, the most recent year data are available, by county, city, neighbourhood or along specific routes. Additional years of collision data will be incorporated into TIMS as they become available.

“This tool is meant to provide professionals and the general public with data to identify traffic safety problems and potential solutions,” said John Bigham, lead researcher for the TIMS project and the GIS programme manager at UC Berkeley’s Safe Transportation Research and Education Center (SafeTREC).

The California Highway Patrol (CHP) collects data on all reported crashes – including collisions on local roads as well as on state highways – and records the information in the California Statewide Integrated Traffic Records System. This database formed the foundation for the records in the TIMS project.

Funding for this program was provided by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety (OTS) through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), whose Fatality Analysis Reporting System database was also used for TIMS.

SafeTREC researchers set out to “geocode” the crash data by developing a process to add coordinates to each collision that involved a fatality or injury requiring hospitalisation. They then created a web-based data query system that allows users to not only conduct searches and download the results, but to also visualise the results using Google Maps and ArcGIS Server. When users click on a location, pop-up boxes provide information about the collision, and the street view feature gives users a realistic picture of the collision site.

Other common data sources, such as census tract information, school locations and zip code boundaries, can be displayed on the maps. Users also have the ability to select collisions on the map and download the associated data files. Video tutorials and FAQs are available to help guide new users through the site.

Source: UC Berkeley