The U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT)  announced nearly $3.3 million in cooperative funding agreements through the Safety Data Initiative to state, local, and tribal governments to develop and deploy innovative data tools and information to improve roadway safety.

“This $3.3 million in federal funding will help these communities implement innovative ways to improve roadway safety,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao.

The Department’s Safety Data Initiative helps communities devise policies to reduce roadway fatalities. This funding advances the Department’s efforts to develop, refine, and deploy safety tools that address specific roadway safety problems. Selected Safety Data Initiative projects include:

·       The City of New Orleans, Louisiana will receive $402,791 to refine and expand USDOT’s existing Pedestrian Fatality Risk Map to include risk to bicyclists, which will help the City make defined, targeted decisions around small-area and corridor-level investments with the greatest potential to prevent serious injuries and fatalities for vulnerable road users.

·       The Confederated Tribes and Bands of the Yakama Nation Department of Natural Resources in Washington State will receive $430,000 to build on an existing roadway safety analysis tool, and develop a comprehensive roadway safety data visualization and evaluation platform to support decision-making about where to invest in roadway safety countermeasures.

·       The Connecticut Department of Transportation will receive $453,000 to develop a tool to improve the State’s behavioral safety decision-making by integrating crash and roadway information with data on citations, toxicology, and hospital injury data. It will also quantify the costs and benefits of behavioral safety countermeasures to inform decision-making.

·       The Maryland Department of Transportation State Highway Administration will receive $358,500 to develop and implement a data analytics and visualization dashboard using mobile device location data and electric scooter trip data available from the City of Baltimore to better understand pedestrian, bicycle, and electric scooter travel volumes and their exposure to risk.

·       The Massachusetts Department of Transportation will receive $429,100 to expand an existing crash data portal to help transportation practitioners identify higher risk roadways and risk factors to target roadway safety improvements and develop publicly available analytic tools and data visualizations.

·       MetroPlan Orlando, the metropolitan planning organization for metropolitan Orlando, Florida, will receive $294,942 to build on the University of Central Florida’s safety data visualization tool – winner of USDOT’s Solving for Safety Visualization Challenge – which uses real-time traffic conditions to estimate the likelihood of a crash at specific locations and help system operators target monitoring of video feeds to identify crashes, deploy first responders, and clear crash scenes more quickly, reducing the probability of secondary crashes occurring at those locations.

·       The North Carolina Department of Transportation will receive $384,500 to develop an artificial intelligence tool for automated analysis of existing video log data that would extract roadside hazards – such as trees, embankments, and steep slopes – on all rural roads in the state, to help identify roadway segments in need of infrastructure safety improvements.

·       The Regional Transportation Commission of Washoe County, the metropolitan planning organization for metropolitan Reno, Nevada, will receive $298,600 to automatically extract highly accurate road geometric features from mobile light-detection-and-ranging (LiDAR) data collected on area roadways, and use artificial intelligence to create a dataset that would be incorporated into GIS software for roadway safety analysis.

·       The Virginia Department of Transportation will receive $232,500 to develop a systemic safety analysis tool, which would identify and visualize locations with higher levels of risk that would benefit from eight low-cost roadway safety countermeasures, allowing for the implementation of these countermeasures at many sites with similar roadway features.

The funding complements existing safety data improvement programs at the Federal Highway Administration, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration by focusing on improving data tools practitioners use to inform their policy and decision-making.

DOT issued the Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) for the Safety Data Initiative in November 2019. In response to the NOFO, the Department received 40 eligible project proposals totaling nearly $15 million.