pedestrians in new york city (Tupungato /

How data is helping NYC cut traffic deaths

Traffic fatalities in New York City were down in 2016, marking three successive years of decline and a 23 percent reduction since 2013, according to Mayor Bill de Blasio’s office. A new report outlines how data shared across agencies is helping the city meet its Vision Zero goals of ending traffic fatalities:

Modeling data. The nonprofit data science firm DataKind is working with the Mayor’s Office to develop an analytical model to improve understanding of how best to prevent different types of crashes and how effective each intervention is at reducing injury and fatality crashes.

Classifying corridors. Using data from CANceiver devices that record information about speeds, hard braking and hard acceleration on its vehicle fleet, the Department of Citywide Administrative Services is building a Driver Behavior Index that will rank and classify corridors and intersections based on driver behavior.

Smashing silos. Matching hospital records with crash reports, the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene has started identifying patterns of injuries associated with crash characteristics, which will help describe, among other things, the impact of traffic injuries on special populations, such as children and older adults.

Shining a light. Analysis of crash trends by the Department of Transportation and the New York Police Department found that the darkness on fall and winter evenings correlated with a 40 percent increase in severe injury and fatal crashes involving pedestrians, so improvement efforts have focused on enforcement, priority locations, education and LED lighting,

Opening data. The city’s tracking system for collisions, called CRASH, is now reported in the publicly available Mayor’s Management Report. The NYPD’s TrafficStat 2.0 presents weekly collision data in a map-based format that lets users compare current collision statistics to the previous year’s numbers.

Read the full Vision Zero Year Three report here.

About the Author

Susan Miller is executive editor at GCN.

Over a career spent in tech media, Miller has worked in editorial, print production and online, starting on the copy desk at IDG’s ComputerWorld, moving to print production for Federal Computer Week and later helping launch websites and email newsletter delivery for FCW. After a turn at Virginia’s Center for Innovative Technology, where she worked to promote technology-based economic development, she rejoined what was to become 1105 Media in 2004, eventually managing content and production for all the company's government-focused websites. Miller shifted back to editorial in 2012, when she began working with GCN.

Miller has a BA from West Chester University and an MA in English from the University of Delaware.

Connect with Susan at or @sjaymiller.

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Reader Comments

Thu, Mar 2, 2017 DrK

I am all for using the gathering of statistical data to fight crime and determining policiling resources needed. However, all the data gathering in the world does not trump good community police relations. In the cases of NYC there are several areas wher not only accidents but physical injury associated with speeding and traffic accidents. Beat cops and community leaders were already aware of the problems of traffic control. The Chief of the department or precinct captain should be increasing police in those areas and start to issue tickets to send a clear message that speeding and disobeying traffic laws will not be tolerated.

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