A recent article by GCN – Government Computer News, a tech publication from GovExec – explored the potential of data gathered by connected vehicle (CV) sensors to inform and enhance road safety strategies.
The data used by traffic managers to assess a given road’s patterns and speed requirements are often quite limited. Decisions typically rely on pneumatic road tube sensors for traffic and speed data, or make use of reported incidents and the patterns known to surround accident hotspots. More efficient equipment might be made available during a specific research project, but the lack of comprehensive data is painful when data are increasingly recognized as key to maximal efficiency.
For traffic managers and the communities they serve, those data directly translates into lives saved. Traffic deaths have become a national priority, with the DOT’s Safe Streets and Roads for All (SS4A) Grant Program allowing $800 million in Bipartisan Infrastructure Law funding for 510 road and traffic safety improvement projects.
For communities in need of data to improve safety planning, connected vehicles may be the key. Their sensor suites vastly outstrip conventional tools, providing info on “speed, acceleration, braking, seatbelt usage, turning and trajectory.” That data could be shared with agencies to be cleaned, analyzed, and implemented directly into safety decisions. A collaboration between CV company Wejo, Purdue University, and INDOT demonstrated the potential of these data at and around Indiana work sites. Their analysis pointed to a frequent and specific cause for accidents: drivers slamming the brakes when reaching the cars waiting to pass through a work zone.
With comprehensive information about the causes of accidents, those causes can be addressed generally and with far less uncertainty. The benefits of data collection for safety are not limited to urban areas. Rural agencies that are able to collect and analyze CV data in the coming years will gain a far greater understanding of their unique safety concerns and the optimal solutions.
GCN’s full article can be found at this link. For additional reading on CV data and how little is presently being used, another GCN article can be found at this link.