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DOT announces new data analysis initiatives

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Washington — The Department of Transportation is initiating two pilot projects intended to update the department’s data analysis and integrate its current datasets with new sources, the agency announced during a Jan. 8 meeting of the Transportation Research Board.

One project will combine data on known crashes and highway design with anonymous data from GPS-enabled devices, which will provide information on prevailing speeds at five-minute intervals throughout the National Highway System.

“For the first time, [DOT] will be able to look directly at prevailing operating speeds at a large scale to see how speed and speed differentials interact with roadway characteristics to influence the likelihood of crashes,” the agency states in a press release. DOT noted that more than 10,000 roadway fatalities in 2016 involved speeding drivers.

The second project will incorporate data on traffic hazards and conditions from the mobile app Waze with crash data, with the goal of estimating risk based on hazard reports.

“Together, these pilot projects represent a new approach to data analysis that will seek to augment traditional data sources with new data that can be collected and analyzed much more quickly,” DOT states in the release. “This approach will create new multidimensional models of the transportation system. The initial focus of the effort is on gaining insights that will help drive down highway fatalities.”

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