In a Collision? Share Your Experience on TA’s CrashStories Website

Today, Transportation Alternatives is launching CrashStories, a new website where pedestrians and cyclists can report crashes or near-misses with motor vehicle drivers on an interactive map. Developed by Hunter College city planning graduate student Aaron Fraint, the project aims to fill gaps in official data sources and offer a place for crash victims to be heard.

CrashStories asks pedestrians and cyclists to report crashes or near-misses on a map of New York City.

Data mapped by TA’s CrashStat tool, which originates from NYPD and is filtered by the state DMV and state DOT, tends to skew toward collisions with major injuries, leaving fender-benders and other, less severe crashes underrepresented in the data. “Everything else tends to get underreported or not reported at all,” said TA’s Jennifer Godzeno.

TA, said Godzeno, gets calls every day from people involved in minor crashes. “If we can start to record that information in enough detail, then maybe we can start to intervene on streets or at intersections before tragedy even strikes,” Godzeno said.

The project grew out of a prototype developed for TA by Columbia University city planning students last year. Over the summer, Fraint was considering developing a similar tool as part of his fellowship at Hunter but couldn’t reach a broad audience to collect data. Meanwhile, TA was looking to move the prototype to the next level but didn’t have the internal capacity to develop the tool. In November, Fraint met with Godzeno.

“It was really the right place at the right time on both accounts,” Fraint said. “I don’t really have a way to reach 100,000 people the way they do.” Fraint and TA came to an agreement, and Fraint got to work. The service uses Shareabouts, a platform developed by Streetsblog’s parent organization, OpenPlans.

Fraint hopes to use the data to analyze the effectiveness of street designs. He also wants to compare CrashStories data to police crash reports. “Ideally, the same intersections would be identified as hot spots,” he said. Eventually, he hopes to launch CrashStories with partner organizations in other areas, and compare data between cities.

TA plans to use the tool as a component of its street safety advocacy, encouraging residents to enter their stories along particularly dangerous streets, providing information that can help convince decision makers to take action for safety.

“This site is a way to humanize the experience of having been in a crash or a near-miss,” while also putting the data to good use, said Godzeno. “Everybody tells us about this every day.”

  • Great project and website, TA.

    Demand the police do better if you are fatally struck: http://mylivingstreetwill.blogspot.com/

  • Ben Kintisch

    I was able to use this great web application with Firefox, but it seems buggy with Google Chrome. Did anyone else have a problem?

  • Erik Griswold

    Thanks to those who worked on this, It will be most interesting comparing the data these generate to that from the Police. “Windshield Perspective”?

  • JamesR

    I love the idea of this, but it doesn’t work right. I spent a few minutes filling it out with my most recent crash, and every time I’d hit ‘submit’, nothing would happen.

ALSO ON STREETSBLOG

What Transportation Data Should NYC Open Up?

|
Today and tomorrow are momentous days for civic-minded software developers in New York City. The Bloomberg administration is accepting requests, until Tuesday at 4:00 p.m., to make specific government datasets publicly available. Modeled after a Washington D.C. initiative called Apps for Democracy, Bloomberg’s "NYC Big Apps" software competition promises to deliver greater transparency and, ultimately, […]

After NYPD Kills Bill, Council Pushes for Traffic Safety Data From DOT

|
The City Council Transportation Committee held a hearing yesterday on four bills that would release new information about traffic crashes and how the Department of Transportation decides whether to install traffic calming measures and traffic control devices like stop lights and stop signs. All together, the bills would cover a wide spectrum of information, but […]

New Map Presents NYPD Crash Data as It Was Meant to Be Seen

|
There is a new mapping tool that presents NYPD crash data in a way that will be useful to advocates, electeds, and citizens who want to improve safety on neighborhood streets. A bit of background. For years, NYPD guarded traffic crash data like a state secret. After the City Council forced the department to make […]

“Bike Bedlam” Fact Check: NYC Bike-Ped Injuries Drop From Low to Lower

|
Editor’s note: Streetsblog has retracted this post. The information on bike-on-ped crashes is not accurate. Read the full correction for an explanation of how we acquired the erroneous data and how we determined it was incorrect. Pedestrian injuries sustained citywide in collisions with bicyclists pale beside the more than 10,000 pedestrian injuries and deaths sustained […]