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

NYC Crashmapper displays data from the site where ## Dworkin## was killed by a truck driver in 2012. The map will update with each new NYPD data dump.

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 the data available to the public, it was first released as a series of PDF files. This wasn’t very helpful in targeting crash-prone locations for increased enforcement or design improvements, which, contrary to NYPD’s fear that data would be manipulated to “make a point of some sort,” is why electeds and advocates wanted the information published.

Enter freelance web developer John Krauss. Last year, Krauss began scraping crash data from the PDFs, with help from Transportation Alternatives and others, and posting it in multiple formats. Now he has translated the data into a multi-functional map that looks a lot like what street safety proponents were aiming to get from NYPD.

“When the NYPD first released the collision (née ‘accident’) data, I thought it was awesome and incredibly valuable,” said Krauss, via email. “I’ve done heat maps and time-sliding maps before, but it was a fun challenge to load up and visualize over 30K intersections over a significant period of time. It took a few weeks of on-and-off again work.”

NYC Crashmapper loads as a heat map, and reveals specific crash locations as you zoom in. Data is searchable by month, and can be filtered to show crashes, collisions with injuries, the number of people involved, and injury type per mode (pedestrian, cyclist, motorist, vehicle passenger). Krauss says more filters will be added, including fatalities for all collision types, vehicles involved, and contributing factors. With this map, anyone with access to an Internet connection can pinpoint where traffic crashes are happening in their neighborhood.

The map draws on data from Excel files, which NYPD started posting within the last year or so. “Although they’re riddled with errors and appear to be copy-pasted from the PDFs somehow, they’re still better,” Krauss says. “I’m [also] publishing the raw clean, geocoded CSVs for anyone to use.”

The map will update automatically each month, and will reflect historical data updates from NYPD. Updates will be tweeted @crashmapper.

NYC Crashmapper is a volunteer project for Krauss, who can be found most mornings riding his bike in Prospect Park. “I’m freelance,” Krauss says, “ring me up.”

  • J

    This is really interesting and will be incredibly useful for a variety of purposes. I would like to see crash data compared with bicycle facility type and volumes of cyclists using those facilities.

    To that end, it would be useful to have a feature that adds up the crash data over time. Each month is too small a sample size to draw any real conclusions, but if you can see a year or two worth of data on a map at once, you’d really start to pick out trends.

  • Keith Williams

    Great tool. But: 0 + 0 + 0 + 0 = 1

    How should this map – and the NYPD – characterize persons using other forms of transportation? Scooters (as with Ms. Dworkin), skateboards, inline skates …

  • David

    I was surprised that you can only see 1 month at a time – Seems like an easy fix and I expect it’s coming. Great map! And great example of data visualization generally

  • Brad Aaron

    Good point. The original data report does not classify the victim.

    I believe it’s common for (other) gov’t agencies to categorize anyone not in a vehicle or on a bike as a pedestrian.

  • Anonymous

    Yep, that’s probably been the most frequent request. I should have some time next week to add it!

  • Andrew

    Why does it only include Christians who have been killed? (At least that’s what I assume based on the symbology. If that wasn’t the intent, perhaps a cross is not the best symbol to use.)

  • Anonymous

    Yeah, what about 0 + 0 + 0 + 0 = 1?

  • Anonymous

    Check this out: Lehman college plays with publically available data too, If you have the data, you can upload it and visualize pretty easily.


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