• Develop a Regional Multi-Source Database System for Safety Data Management and Analysis in RITI Communities in Washington State

      Wang, Yinhai; Zeng, Ziqiang; Gottsacker, Christopher; Yang, Hao (Frank) (2019-05)
      Rural, Isolated, Tribal, and Indigenous (RITI) communities across the United States are disadvantaged from a transportation safety perspective. Particular concern is focusing on rural road safety. Since RITI communities often do not have the capability and resources to sufficiently solve roadway safety problems, several challenges are encountered for addressing transportation safety issues in RITI communities, including: (1) Crashes are often distributed along roads in RITI areas without known patterns; (2) Strategies to address safety issues are diverse for different RITI communities and draw from several safety areas. As a result, there is a critical need to realize equitably-augmented safety solutions that address the needs of these underserved and underinvested RITI communities. To address this gap, this project aims to develop a regional multi-source database system for traffic safety data management and analysis of RITI communities in Washington State. The existing crash data sources in RITI communities in Washington was identified and documented. The crash data on rural routes was extracted from the raw data from Washington State Department of Transportation and integrated into the multi-source database system, including traffic flow characteristics, crash attributes and contribution factors, crash-related trauma data and medical records, weather conditions, etc. The Colville tribe also provided the crash data in their tribal communities under a confidentiality agreement. A multi-source database fusion and integration system architecture was designed. Microsoft SQL Server 2012 was used to implement the database and manage the data. A six-step data quality control method was employed to clean the data by wiping out the outliers from spatial and temporal aspects. The tribal crash data was made accessible to authorized users so they can download the datasets by using password, while the WSDOT crash data was set to be public for all the users. A safety analysis module was developed for visualizing the data in the regional multi-source database system in RITI communities. The data visualization platform is developed based on the Vaadin Framework. The users can interact with the interface for data analysis. A safety performance index and a potential safety improvement index were also developed. By combining the two indexes, one can easily identify crash hotspots and the key influencing factors to consider in an improvement package.

      Wang, Yinhai; Jiang, Ying; Gottsacker, Christopher; Zeng, Ziqiang (2019-06)
      Traffic crashes are one of the leading causes of death among all people in the United States, but the rates among American Indian and Alaska Native (AIAN) populations are significantly higher than other groups. In fact, rural areas in general are disadvantaged from a traffic safety perspective due to the lack of funding and challenges in safety improvement decisions. This may contribute to the much higher fatality rate on rural roadways than on urban roadways. Additionally, there is a known issue of underreporting of fatal crashes of tribal members. Thus, an increased focus on rural, isolated, tribal, and indigenous (RITI) community traffic safety is necessary in order to progress towards zero fatalities. The need for quality data is recognized, and even included in many tribal transportation plans, but implementation and collection of the data varies. Quality data enables better safety analysis and enables greater support for traffic safety improvements. An easy-to-use and multisource database would enable tribes throughout the state and other rural communities to more readily manage data and apply for improvement funding. In order to reach this point, it is necessary to have agreements with tribes on crash data collection and usage, and understand local customs, needs, and current practices. This research aimed to form trusting and lasting relationships with tribal leaders in Washington State in order to facilitate crash database management and traffic safety analysis in their communities. The outreach activities included meetings with local tribal leaders, interviews, and attendance and presentations at tribal conferences. Ultimately a formal research agreement was signed with one tribe in Washington State granting access to the fatal and serious injury crash data they had collected.