- I mostly react to reported concerns (present bias)
- I want to see the before and after of a safety intervention
How can Ford empower better traffic safety decision-making for US road systems?
Currently, transportation decision makers have a limited number of analytical visualization tools available that reveal insights and even fewer focused on safety and the prevention of serious crashes. The US Department of Transportation issued a call for innovators in transportation and mobility to develop new tools to solve this problem. We partnered with Ford’s Global Data, Insights & Analytics division to enter the Solving for Safety Visualization challenge.
First,Discover the Problem
Through extensive user interviews with traffic safety engineers, traffic planners, and traffic consultants, we discovered the top three overlapping needs from each of the different roles.
These included the need to easily see an aggregation of crashes to investigate, to see localized crashes and manage only their focus areas, and to simulate interventions on any part of the map to inform traffic safety decisions.
Armed with these findings, we started with a lean design for a visualization tool which pulled and compiled connected vehicle data from Ford, crash data from SEMCOG, and traffic data from the state of Michigan.
- I want to easily see crash hotspots
- I want to focus only on the areas I am responsible for
- I want to simulate interventions anywhere (hotspots or not)
- I currently use mostly crash data but it is limited
- Analysis tools are a good starting point to dig deeper and make decisions
- I focus on long term trends and system planning (future bias)
- My goal is to provide actionable data to communities and road owners
RoadCode offers the ability to visualize a combination of crash data, connected vehicle data, and cell phone data all in one place. The tool helps traffic safety engineers gain a system-level view for solving traffic safety issues by providing a three-step process:
Step 1: Gain Context
Selectable context layers enable traffic safety engineers to better understand the context around crashes with the comprehensive visual representation of crash data, connected vehicle data such as hard braking events, and traffic data.
Step 2: Identify Hotspots
Powered by the Network Screening process from the Highway Safety Manual, hotspots uncover roads and intersections in a traffic safety engineer’s jurisdiction that has a higher-than-expected crash rate.
Step 3: Simulate Countermeasures
Simulations allow local organizations to understand the costs and benefits of reducing crashes on specific roads and intersections.
Integrated intoCity Insights
RoadCode has now been rebranded as Safety Insights, which is part of Ford Mobility’s City Insights suite of tools. Traffic safety engineers are currently using the tool to help make key decisions that will reduce serious crashes and save lives.
Out of over 54 entrants in the USDOT competition, RoadCode rose to the finals, earning second place. The judges specifically praised RoadCode’s strength in user-centered design and the quick development time of the application.
FordLabs exemplified what it means to be a high performing product team and I would recommend them to build your next product without any hesitation.
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