NHTSA’s crash databases are populated with data from police reports of vehicle crashes nationwide. While these provide researchers with a variety of important details such as road location, road condition, date, time and speed limit, the data is limited to what is provided in the police reports.
Additional details might be obtained to help researchers in vehicle design, and, as a result, U.S. roads and highways safer. Greater understanding may be obtained as to why a crash may have occurred at a specific location or how the crash might have been prevented.
Toyota’s CSRC and WATS (Local Government Agency) have partnered to explore new methods of crash data collection, focusing on vehicle crashes in Washtenaw County in order to help inform recommendations that could be expanded nationwide.
Under policies currently followed for crashes in Washtenaw County, the local police department fills out a police report when called to an accident scene, supplying basic information such as vehicle and passenger details, location and type of accident, road condition and type, and weather condition.
Under this project, the CSRC and WATS will explore new processes for information gathering, including collecting driving and video data. This data will then be compiled along with existing police report information into a common database.
The project will begin by establishing what data is needed for more effective crash analysis and then finalize the data collection process.
Researchers will then prioritize crash locations for study based on crash frequency, collecting site characteristics through the use of on-board cameras, such as site conditions and environmental barriers, which may be difficult to capture in written reports by police.
The collected data will be analyzed to identify the potential causes of crashes, as well as to support the development of countermeasures.
The two-year project will begin with research to identify the data needed and to set the data collection process. Site video collection and other data gathering for the prioritized crash locations will continue for approximately 19 months. Running concurrently, the project will also include a 22-month effort to compile collected data into an effective deliverable format.