The New York City-based group, Transportation Alternatives, has developed an interactive mapping tool, CrashStats 2.0, based on accident information from the New York City Department of Transportation. Crash data for both pedestrians and cyclists (injuries and fatalities) from 1995-2005 are layered over Google Maps.
CrashStats 2.0 is an improvement over its predecessor (CrashStats) through expanded crash information and by utilizing the ease of use and familiarity of Google Maps. Following the revolutionary environmental policies of the 1970s, Transportation Alternatives’ mission is to increase safe opportunities for bicyclists and pedestrians. Today they have a number of active campaigns to increase awareness of the dangers of still car-dominated New York.
The CrashStats tool has a number of applications. First it provides a lasting record of accidents that citizens can locate within their neighborhoods and transit routes. It provides a call to action for transportation planners to address consistently dangerous intersections and streets. Community members can question why certain areas of the city are more dangerous than others. Using the timeline feature of CrashStats they can also ask why some areas of the city have become safer, some have remained the same, and some have become more dangerous. Pedestrians and cyclists can use the information to advocate for new transportation routes. Combining the information with other resources, like the NYC Bikemap, allows people to make informed choices about the safest routes. It can also be part of a community visioning process on the types of transportation changes the DOT needs to make for neighborhoods. This data dovetails with New York’s goal of increasing pedestrian and bicycle opportunities. CrashStats allows the community to analyze for themselves the dangerous streets the city has created, and advocate for their own safety in the city’s future planning.
Carl Kunda, VERTICES intern