city transportation (metamorworks/Shutterstock.com)

Promoting traffic safety through data visualization

The Department of Transportation wants to help policymakers, transportation providers and the public better understand transportation safety through data visualizations.

Solving for Safety: Visualization Challenge calls for new tools to analyze transportation safety systems.  DOT is looking for two classes of tools: first "discover insight tools" to offer visualizations of trends in agency data and "simulation tools" that allow users to easily shift and adjust data in simulation and probability models to assist in decision making.

The tools can be image analysis solutions, dashboards that tap into disparate datasets, maps that rely on spatial analysis, virtual or augmented reality scenarios or social media mining. Participants can use data from DOT or other resources.

Officials want competitors to focus on vulnerable users (like pedestrians and cyclists), accidents at conflict points (like intersections or rail crossings) and high risk-factors (including young drivers and people driving under the influence). The department also wants to better understand how factors like weather, time of day and road conditions affect safety.

“Recent innovations in data analytics and visualization tools give us the potential to understand risk at the system level, and to develop tools and discover insights that will lead to new, life-saving strategies that address injuries and fatalities on our roadways,” the agency's Undersecretary for Policy Derek Kan said.

In the first stage participants will submit their ideas. Four competitors will go onto the second round where they will develop a proof-of-concept. There is $350,000 worth of prize money that will be distributed between the second and third stages of the competition.

About the Author

Matt Leonard is a former reporter for GCN.

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