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Friday, September 16, 2016

The U.S. Department of Transportation

The U.S. Department of Transportation just released an open data set that contains detailed, anonymized information about tragic incidents. As the new data being released show, and as DOT reported earlier this summer, 2015 showed a marked increase in traffic fatalities nationwide.
Nationally, 7.2% more people died in traffic-related accidents in 2015 than in 2014. This unfortunate data point breaks a recent historical trend of fewer deaths occurring per year.
Although the main study report aggregates data for all fifty states, the link below provides a query tool to show data broken down for individual states and counties with preset queries of measurements that are useful for your specific county.
The DOT is soliciting your help to better understand what these data is telling us. Whether you’re a non-profit, a tech company, or just a curious citizen wanting to contribute to the conversation in your local community, they want you to jump in and help them understand what you think it all means from your personal perspective.
Some of the key questions they believe are worth exploring:
How might improving economic conditions around the country change how Americans are getting around? What models can we develop to identify communities that might be at a higher risk for fatal crashes?
How might climate change increase the risk of fatal crashes in a community?
How might we use studies of attitudes toward speeding, distracted driving, and seat belt use to better target marketing and behavioral change campaigns?
How might we monitor public health indicators and behavior risk indicators to target communities that might have a high prevalence of behaviors linked with fatal crashes (drinking, drug use/addiction, etc.)?
What countermeasures should we create to address these issues?
The DOT is aggressively seeking ways to improve safety on the roads. From their work with the auto industry to improve vehicle safety, to new solutions to behavioral challenges like drunk, drugged, distracted and drowsy driving.
They are also looking to accelerate technologies that may make driving safer, including connected and highly automated vehicles.
They are calling on data scientists, public health experts, students and researchers — even if you have never thought about road safety before — to dive in to this data and help answer these important questions, especially on tough issues like pedestrian and bicyclist fatalities.
If you wish to participate, start by downloading and playing with the data...use the link below...
...then share your insights and let them know what you find by sending them a note at...