British Columbia, Canada: Engineers at the University of British Columbia are developing a system for predicting the likelihood of car crashes in a specific area. A laboratory being built at UBC’s Kelowna campus is designed to estimate how many collisions will happen in a neighbourhood, given specific road layouts, and help engineers improve their plans.
Ottawa, Vancouver, Victoria and Kelowna authority are supporting UBC by providing collision data, GIS mapping and other information to help build the models that calculate the likelihood of accidents.
Despite the efforts of governments, about 2,900 Canadians die on the roads each year, and nearly 200,000 are injured. Worldwide, the World Health Organisation predicts that by 2030, road accidents will be the fifth-leading causing of death, beating diarrheal diseases, HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis.
The lab can’t tell who will crash or how many accidents will happen on any particular day, but the designers say the tool is a leap forward for road safety, because it doesn’t rely on often-unreliable predictions of traffic congestion. Instead, it takes a range of factors into account, such as the road layout, population numbers, census details and other data.
Civil engineering professor Gord Lovegrove will lead the road safety laboratory when it opens in September 2011.
The Canadian Foundation for Innovation and the British Columbia Knowledge Development Fund each contributed USD 92,000 toward the USD 240,000 cost of building the lab. The remainder involves donations of money and equipment from a variety of smaller contributors.
Source: CBC News