This article first appeared in the Governors Highway Safety Association State Safety Showcase.
The 2011 Wisconsin Crash Calendar gives the Wisconsin Bureau of Transportation Safety (BOTS) a new way to look at the various higway safety problem areas in the state.
The unique display of crash statistics provokes interest and discussion among those who view it. The BOTS has brought the calendar to several multi-disciplinary meetings and have noticed how much conversation it generates as people examine the data and hypothesize on the crash causes. Regional Program Managers use the calendar to effectively communicate the issues at their quarterly Traffic Safety Commission (TSC) meetings.
In presenting data to stakeholders in this calendar format, BOTS is hoping to stimulate more discussion regarding the behavioral aspects of crashes and get people asking questions, such as “What’s happening with young drivers in January and February?”
Some specific trends that have been noted include: alcohol crashes tend to occur on the weekends, deer crashes are a problem in November, and poor weather tends to correlate with all types of crashes except fatalities.
Another interesting observation is the lack of speeding-related crashes in the summer months. Although this could be interpreted to mean that speeding is not a problem in the summer, actually law enforcement officers are less inclined to report speed as a possible contributing factor when road conditions are clear or when other factors (such as alcohol) play a role.
This data visualization was created as part of the University of Wisconsin’s Transportation Information Center‘s ROaDS (rResources, Outreach, and Data Support) initiative using statewide data from 2011 and will be updated annually. Plans are in the works to produce similar county-specific calendars using three to five years worth of data.
2011 Wisconsin Crash Calendar (PDF, 1.6 MB)
Policy and Program Supervisor
Wisconsin Bureau of Transportation Safety
Joni Graves, AICP
LTAP Transportation Information Center
Department of Engineering Professional Development
University of Wisconsin-Madison