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Working with Locals to Improve Safety Data

Publication Year: 2015


Florida

Description

One of the key challenges every state faces in addressing its safety issues is the availability of timely and accurate crash data. The Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21) made this even more apparent by requiring states to establish safety performance targets for reducing fatalities and serious injuries on all public roads. In Florida, the Strategic Highway Safety Plan (SHSP) provides the roadmap for achieving those targets and integrating safety initiatives in all emphasis areas. The SHSP also makes it very clear that achieving these targets will require actions on both the state highway system and on roadways owned and operated by local governments and agencies. Over 25% of the State's roadway fatalities occur on local roads, and this number points to the tremendous challenge of addressing roadway safety issues on Florida's local roads.

To address safety challenges on local roads, the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) is working via their Traffic Records Coordinating Committee (TRCC) to interact with over 300 local agencies throughout the State, including law enforcement, health care, and emergency medical service agencies. The key goals of the TRCC are to integrate data systems across agencies, and promote the timeliness, accuracy, completeness, and uniformity of data collected. In recent years the TRCC funded local agencies to improve their ability to collect and store enforcement actions and crash data. Specifically, local agencies used the funding to purchase hardware to support their reporting capabilities.

eCitation and eCrash are electronic citation software that allow law enforcement officers, at the scene of a crash, to use laptops in their police vehicles to input data and information from a traffic incident directly into a computerized database. These systems also have scanners, which transfer driver's license information directly to forms, reducing errors.

In addition, Florida recognizes that in order to move beyond using historical crash data alone to make countermeasure choices, certain core roadway data elements will be required for all roads in the State. This has been a challenge for many local jurisdictions. The FDOT is working with localities to develop databases that can be merged with crash data to better prioritize safety needs on local roads.

Overall, locals are seeing the benefits that come from having better data. In 2013, nearly $38 million in Highway Safety Improvement Program (HSIP) funds went to local safety projects (only $9.2 million was obligated for local safety projects in the previous year). In addition, the State has made a considerable commitment to assisting locals in planning, evaluating, and preparing justifications for such projects.

Key Accomplishments

  • Through their Traffic Records Coordinating Committee, the Florida DOT provides assistance to over 300 local agencies in improving their data systems.
  • The State's new eCitation and eCrash systems ensure timely and accurate data collection from law enforcement and first responders.
  • Local agencies received funding to purchase hardware to optimize application of these new data systems.

Results

Data is the foundation of sound safety decision-making, and the FDOT recognizes the importance of having that data for all roads in the State. By engaging and providing resources to local governments, the FDOT is better able to support and target their safety initiatives, and integrate their efforts into achieving the State's overall safety goals.

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Contact

Ms. Danielle King
TRCC Coordinator
Florida Department of Transportation
Traffic Safety Management Office
605 Suwannee Street, MS 53
Tallahassee, FL 32399
(850) 414-4226
Danielle.King@dot.state.fl.us

Publication Year: 2015

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