Traffic Data Speeds Up Road Safety Efforts
The world is on a journey Towards Zero road deaths. Road safety efforts need traffic data to guide them, but a perceived lack of useful information is impeding arrival at our destination. Here’s how to find and use traffic data to speed up the journey and drive us safely towards zero.
It’s obvious that attempting to eradicate road fatalities and serious injuries is quite the task. To do so we’ll need to successfully enact informed decisions across all stakeholders including:
- vehicle manufacturers,
- law enforcement,
- regulatory bodies,
- driver education groups,
- road designers,
- the driving community,
- and the list goes on…
If each of these entities has access to the right information, those changes will be easier to design, more effective in their execution and cause less problems down the track.
After attending the 2019 Australasian Road Safety Conference, it was clear that some of the changes we need to make include:
- Mandating Safe Systems Approach to vehicle design, driver education, speed enforcement and road design.
- Developing star ratings for roads (considering vulnerable road users).
- Effecting political change to ensure adequate funding for road safety.
- Sharing traffic data and resources freely so informed decisions can be made across the board.
There’s the perception among many who attended the conference that a lack of useful information on traffic trends and statistics exists.
This perception is incorrect.
Traffic Data Surveys
Traffic surveys are completed in the thousands every week by local governments, state road authorities, police departments and private corporations. These surveys include information on speed, counts, types and estimated mass of vehicles, peak hours, red/orange light violations and more.
When analysing this data with the correct software, it is easy to:
- Identify dangerous lane departure, tailgating and overtaking hot spots.
- Predict the location and subsequent impact of crashes.
- Identify vulnerable road users and their activity (motorbikes, bicycles, scooters and pedestrians).
- Understand driver behaviour at traffic lights through red and orange light violations and approach speed, traffic headway and vehicle class data.
- Identify growth and seasonal variations in heavy vehicle movements as well as highlight illegal use of smaller roads.
- And much more.
How is data currently being used?
This information can then be used across the board to target driver behaviour, speed-related issues and infrastructure improvements to ultimately reduce crashes before they even occur.
Data collected and analysed with MetroCount solutions has been used to:
- Better implement and enforce school zone speed limits.
- Inform infrastructure upgrades in-line with the Safe Systems Approach.
- Monitor and regulate new mobility devices (such as e-scooters).
- More effectively deploy police resources by predicting speeding hot spots, times and potential fine income.
- Reduce dangerous overtaking and tailgating in rural areas.
- Understand driver bahaviour at traffic signals and rail crossings.
- Implement road and path maintenance more quickly and effectively.
- Even convict reckless drivers (data accuracy so precise, it has held up in court).
How to Access Traffic Data
So the data is out there, we just need to access it and share it with the world.
The National Office of Road Safety recently admitted they can’t get access to solid data.
MetroCount strongly encourages all of its client’s to consider sharing the valuable information they have and continue to collect with others.
An online data analytics platform currently in development will allow information sharing across the board.
But until then, what can you or your entity do to inform others of the changes needed to achieve zero road deaths?
“The road safety community extends to every road user, their friends and their loved ones. It’s why road safety is everyone’s business.”
Mr Llew O’Brien MP
Federal Member for Wide Bay, QLD & Chair Joint Select Committee on Road Safety.
Photos from 2019 Australasian Road Safety Conference