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Revolutionizing Roadway Safety: Measure Faster, Save Lives

March 10, 2023

Image Caption: Revolutionizing Roadway Safety: Measure Faster, Save Lives

Connected vehicle data offers a scalable and cost-effective solution that can revolutionize the way we approach roadway safety. 

The status quo of relying on crash data to assess safety is no longer sufficient. To truly transform the way we measure and improve roadway safety, we must tap into the power of connected vehicle data. By utilizing this resource, transportation agencies can effectively and affordably identify safety risks and address potential issues before they escalate into fatalities. 

Why is the status quo not working?

Traditional methods of measuring safety rely on measuring infrequent and often devastating events like crashes or fatalities. This data is readily available to agencies, however they often don’t provide sufficient information by themselves on roadway safety.

Crashes don’t just come out of nowhere - 90% of crashes are a direct result of risk-taking driver behavior. This is the “safety funnel”, it shows how these behaviors can escalate into an evasive maneuver, a near-miss, a crash, or a fatality.

Later events in the funnel are more severe, but they are also less frequent. Fatalities, for example, happen once in every 76 million miles driven in the US. This means that, on average, for a 1-mile stretch of road: the average risk of a fatality in a given year is 0.00000132%, or a frequency of once every 50 years. With numbers this small, it is difficult to measure and predict risk accurately.

Quicker measures mean quicker results

For accurate statistical analysis, you typically require a sample size of 30 or above. If you were to use metrics later in the funnel, it would take a considerable amount of time to identify whether your safety measure worked or not. For example, if you were measuring safety using fatality data, it would take 1500 years to get 30 samples. However, if you were measuring risky behaviors, it would take just 90 minutes. The faster you can measure safety, the faster you can improve it.

Don’t Wait for Tragedy to Strike

Using metrics later in the funnel also creates higher costs. Relying on crash and fatality statistics carries a high human cost, up to $11,449,000 per incident, whilst detecting near misses using camera-based technologies can cost up to $80,000 per unit to deploy. It's time to shift our focus to the top of the safety funnel, where we can measure risky behavior and discover safety issues before crashes occur.

Empowering Agencies with Real-time Insights

At Flow Labs we focus on helping transportation agencies measure risk-taking behaviors directly. We leverage data from multiple sources, including connected vehicle data, to identify and analyze safety issues.

Advances in connected vehicle data, provided by companies like Wejo, make it possible to measure and understand vehicle behavior from over 13.8m vehicles across the US, with over 750bn miles traveled, giving transportation agencies the power to identify safety issues quickly and effectively. This data can provide deep insights into various safety-related behaviors and allow agencies to measure the impact of their safety measures in real-time.

What should you be measuring?

The key leading indicators of crashes have been well known and well researched for decades, bringing a clear understanding of some of the key leading indicators of crashes:

  • Speeding: High vehicle speeds, high speeds relative to speed limits, high speed variance, high speeds relative to average speeds.
  • Red Light Running (RLR): Red Light Running rates of greater than 2.0% (Source: Flow Labs)
  • Dilemma Zone Entry (DZE): Dilemma Zone Entry rates of greater than 1.07% (Source: Flow Labs)
  • Hard Braking: Braking greater than 0.3g or 9.65ft/s2 (Source: NHTSA (2019))
  • Aggressive Acceleration: Acceleration greater than 0.3g or 9.65ft/s2 (Source: NHTSA (2019))
  • Turning Movement Speed: Turning movement speed of greater than 3ft/s (Source: NHTSA (2019))

Measure Safety Instantly with Abacus

Ensure safety instantly with Abacus, advanced analytics from Flow Labs. Abacus empowers agencies to capture crucial data with ease, speed, and accuracy. Abacus delivers a comprehensive suite of metrics and visualizations, enabling engineers to gain deep insights into vehicular trends. With our intuitive charts, users can effortlessly explore the full range of vehicle behaviors, moving beyond basic averages to make informed decisions that enhance safety.

Proactive Monitoring with Cerberus

Act now with Cerberus, the proactive monitoring tool that can help you prevent crashes and fatalities. With its advanced scanning capabilities, Cerberus can identify safety issues in all of your roadways and intersections, calculating the severity and actionability of the issue. Using sorting and filtering functions, you can quickly prioritize the most problematic areas and devote your resources where it matters most. With alerts within 24 hours, you can take immediate action and minimize negative impacts on road users. Don't wait for an accident to happen, be proactive with Cerberus.

If you want to see how your agency can use connected vehicle data to gather safety insights faster, get in touch with us at contact@flowlabs.ai

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