From Data Point A to Zero Crashes, and All the Complexities in Between

The latest data shows that motor vehicle crash deaths are up more than 12% year-over-year in 2021  — with a disproportionate percentage of pedestrians and bicyclists impacted. Despite best efforts, our goal of reducing fatal crashes has stalled over the last decade. So, while we try to make our communities safer with timely driver and vehicle behavior data, the path from ones and zeros to effectively saving lives has proven challenging.

Bumps in the Road Between Mobility Data and Vision Zero

Driver behavior and vehicle data is an important tool in making our communities safer, but this data isn’t centralized, nor easy to access. Before transportation professionals can uncover life-saving insights, they must overcome several obstacles inherent in the data.

  • Datasets are often too expensive, they’re heterogenous, and sourced from multiple places
  • Datasets typically require time-consuming clean-up before they can be input into proper tools, and properly used
  • Some datasets may be siloed and completely inaccessible
  • It can be difficult to find valuable insights that successfully inform safety plans

Plus, some local crash data only tells part of the story and rarely has enough information to drive comprehensive change. Help is needed to better access and leverage this data, and to measure its efficacy in preventing accidents.

No Shortcut to Vision Zero, But a Straighter Path

The United States Department of Transportation (USDOT), and state and local agencies have accelerated their Vision Zero plans and funding to reduce traffic fatalities. More specifically, the USDOT has made $5B in discretionary funds available for the Safe Streets and Roads for All program, with roughly $2B dedicated to Vision Zero plans.

And now, it’s up to transportation professionals to effectively utilize these funds to better understand and predict roadway dangers before they cause any real harm. To make this possible, we must circumvent some of the roadblocks that have stalled progress over the last decade, and here’s how.

There are new ways to help transportation planners better tap into mobility data, and achieve their safety goals. This means providing instant access to comprehensive datasets that lead to faster, more informed decision-making. No more guesswork on where to focus attention, instead the most dangerous roadways are identified and can be prioritized accordingly. Also, a better rationale for funding is available along with help to accelerate the funding process and secure the money necessary to make real change. But these tools don’t stop there, they also track progress and evaluate results so programs can be optimized for success.

Vision Zero is right around the corner. The data exists, the processes and tools are in place, and now it’s up to us to drive it all forward.


INRIX logo

 More than 15 years experience in the connected vehicle space. Now defining the technical roadmap for smart city incubation products and opportunities.

Shawn Granada headshot from General Motors for sponsored blog post
About the Author
Shawn Grenada is Head of Product — Smart City Innovation at General Motors

August 8, 2022