Leveraging Data Fusion and Visual Analytics for Road Safety

by Leah Shahum | March 24, 2021 | in News, Webinars

In our recent webinar, we learned of some of the key challenges and opportunities that traffic safety practitioners face in making the most of data and analytics to advance Vision Zero goals. 

In the March 2021 event — Leveraging Data Fusion and Visual Analytics for Road Safety — we were joined by Bruce Aquila, of Hexagon, a global leader in sensor, software and autonomous solutions, and Emily Thomas, Data and Research Manager with the South Carolina Department of Transportation.

Hexagon’s solutions empower transportation safety practitioners, especially at the state and local levels where, as Aquila noted, “the rubber hits the road.” Emphasizing the importance of using a Safe Systems approach to traffic safety work — including being proactive and predictive — Hexagon’s approach emphasizes the need for holistic planning to address the troubling trends of rising fatality rates, especially amongst people walking and biking. 

Aquila called out some of the common challenges for agencies in focusing safety efforts most effectively and efficiently, including:

  • Lack of interagency collaboration, or “territoriality”;
  • Difficulty in assimilating necessary data to make informed decisions;
  • Budget constraints; and
  • Political pressure

Hexagon provides agencies with ways to integrate multiple data sources to produce more consistent, accurate and useful information. This data fusion offers more reliable data, more accurate analysis, better insights for decision-making; enables improved location assessment of problems (more on that below); and helps agencies make data-driven decisions more easily.

The South Carolina Department of Transportation (DOT) is partnering with Hexagon to address what is, unfortunately, one of the worst traffic safety records in the nation. The goal of significantly reducing traffic deaths is what motivates Emily Thomas and her S.C. DOT team to prioritize stepped-up data fusion in their safety efforts. 

Working with Hexagon, the S.C. DOT is able to turn information into insight and more accurate diagnosis in order to optimize safety efforts. Some of the benefits Thomas is already seeing from the partnership include the ability to:

  • Make and save changes to crash records, allowing more accurate mapping of problems and more holistic analysis and solutions;
  • Customize reports for better cross-agency communications and more efficient problem-solving;
  • Track project progress and evaluations, over time, allowing for better workflow and longer-term learning of best practices;
  • Better prioritize strong project lists for future work, such as in the Highway Safety Improvement Plan; 
  • Make spatial queries, such as identifying longer corridor needs versus spot-issues, allowing for more cohesive, holistic solutions; and
  • Provide improved data back to partners in other agencies.

Big-picture, Thomas reports, the S.C. DOT safety team is working with greater efficiency (no more “re-doing of work”); improved data accuracy leading to better projects; faster project delivery; and improved safety.

You can learn more about Hexagon’s Geospatial work and how these solutions can improve traffic safety.

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