Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Software pinpoints traffic accident 'hotspots'

20.03.2007
Ohio State University scientists have created software that can identify traffic accident hotspots on state roadways.

The software is publicly available and can be adapted for use by any state, said Christopher Holloman, associate director of the Statistical Consulting Service in Ohio State's Department of Statistics. Currently, the Ohio State Highway Patrol is using it to help position its cruisers during major holidays.

"We can make predictions for every major roadway in Ohio, under all possible road conditions, for every hour of the day, for every day of the week," Holloman said.

The software relies on reports of injuries and fatalities from the highway patrol, and incorporates statistics about what makes accidents happen.

Common accident causes such as speeding or alcohol consumption are fairly easy to model using computers, Holloman explained. Others -- such as when a driver will be distracted by a cell phone -- are impossible. So the software makes general forecasts.

"Everyone would love to be able to predict exactly where and when the next crash would be, but there are just too many factors involved, and too much randomness to do that," he said. "We can confidently make broad statements, like whether a particular piece of roadway is riskier at a particular time."

Not surprisingly, the software indicates that most speeding accidents in Ohio happen during weekday rush hours, and most drunk-driving accidents happen on the weekends between 2:00 and 3:00 a.m. -- after the bars close. But it did reveal some facts that weren't so obvious.

In Columbus, for instance, most speeding accidents happen on the northern potion of the outer beltway, Interstate 270. But Interstate 71, which divides the city north to south, is a hotspot for drunk-driving accidents.

Ohio is the seventh most populated state in the United States, and most residents live in and around the cities of Columbus, Cleveland, and Cincinnati.

Holloman expected to find that most fatal traffic accidents happen near those three cities. He didn't expect to find that most fatalities around Columbus and Cincinnati happen on the interstates, while near Cleveland more fatalities occur on the U.S. routes and state routes, as people cross the border to and from Pennsylvania. He says that his contacts at the highway patrol didn't seem surprised.

"It confirmed what they already knew, which is fine," he said. The software can't indicate the underlying cause of why a particular area is prone to a particular type of accident, but it may help the highway patrol find those answers. "We see the software as a supplement to officer expertise, and to the efforts of the highway patrol's quantitative analysis group, which does its own analysis of crash data."

"It's just one more tool in the patrol's toolbox."

Holloman and his colleagues have been issuing reports to the highway patrol in advance of every major holiday since July 4, 2005. That first report only covered interstates around major Ohio cities. Last fall, they expanded their computer model to include all Ohio interstates, U.S. routes and state routes for which crash data was available. Now they've combined the software with Google Earth, which Holloman said will make the tool even easier to use.

Google Earth offers an interactive map of the entire globe, including major roadways. The Ohio State software color-codes the roadways in Ohio, so that users can zoom in to see the general likelihood of accidents in any region of the state.

It's not something the average person would run on their home computer, however. The software uses a 900-megabyte database that details every traffic accident that occurred on Ohio highways from 2001-2005, and generates 50 gigabytes of output data. The equations that Holloman and his colleagues developed to connect all that data took two weeks to process at the Ohio Supercomputer Center.

The software would have to be modified to fit other states, and Holloman said the university's Statistical Consulting Service would like to do that. Other states would benefit from the fact that the Ohio State Highway Patrol paid the $50,000 development costs; customizing the software for a new state would cost about half as much.

The key to making the software work in a particular state is the quality of the accident data, Holloman said. The Ohio State Highway Patrol was able to gather precise data from nearly all 88 Ohio counties, including the location of crashes.

"I have to wonder if other states have such good data collection," Holloman said. "Having the latitude and longitude of the crashes was fantastic."

The Ohio Supercomputer Center donated the computing resources for this study.

Christopher Holloman | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.osu.edu

More articles from Information Technology:

nachricht Stable magnetic bit of three atoms
21.09.2017 | Sonderforschungsbereich 668

nachricht Drones can almost see in the dark
20.09.2017 | Universität Zürich

All articles from Information Technology >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: The pyrenoid is a carbon-fixing liquid droplet

Plants and algae use the enzyme Rubisco to fix carbon dioxide, removing it from the atmosphere and converting it into biomass. Algae have figured out a way to increase the efficiency of carbon fixation. They gather most of their Rubisco into a ball-shaped microcompartment called the pyrenoid, which they flood with a high local concentration of carbon dioxide. A team of scientists at Princeton University, the Carnegie Institution for Science, Stanford University and the Max Plank Institute of Biochemistry have unravelled the mysteries of how the pyrenoid is assembled. These insights can help to engineer crops that remove more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere while producing more food.

A warming planet

Im Focus: Highly precise wiring in the Cerebral Cortex

Our brains house extremely complex neuronal circuits, whose detailed structures are still largely unknown. This is especially true for the so-called cerebral cortex of mammals, where among other things vision, thoughts or spatial orientation are being computed. Here the rules by which nerve cells are connected to each other are only partly understood. A team of scientists around Moritz Helmstaedter at the Frankfiurt Max Planck Institute for Brain Research and Helene Schmidt (Humboldt University in Berlin) have now discovered a surprisingly precise nerve cell connectivity pattern in the part of the cerebral cortex that is responsible for orienting the individual animal or human in space.

The researchers report online in Nature (Schmidt et al., 2017. Axonal synapse sorting in medial entorhinal cortex, DOI: 10.1038/nature24005) that synapses in...

Im Focus: Tiny lasers from a gallery of whispers

New technique promises tunable laser devices

Whispering gallery mode (WGM) resonators are used to make tiny micro-lasers, sensors, switches, routers and other devices. These tiny structures rely on a...

Im Focus: Ultrafast snapshots of relaxing electrons in solids

Using ultrafast flashes of laser and x-ray radiation, scientists at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics (Garching, Germany) took snapshots of the briefest electron motion inside a solid material to date. The electron motion lasted only 750 billionths of the billionth of a second before it fainted, setting a new record of human capability to capture ultrafast processes inside solids!

When x-rays shine onto solid materials or large molecules, an electron is pushed away from its original place near the nucleus of the atom, leaving a hole...

Im Focus: Quantum Sensors Decipher Magnetic Ordering in a New Semiconducting Material

For the first time, physicists have successfully imaged spiral magnetic ordering in a multiferroic material. These materials are considered highly promising candidates for future data storage media. The researchers were able to prove their findings using unique quantum sensors that were developed at Basel University and that can analyze electromagnetic fields on the nanometer scale. The results – obtained by scientists from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics, the Swiss Nanoscience Institute, the University of Montpellier and several laboratories from University Paris-Saclay – were recently published in the journal Nature.

Multiferroics are materials that simultaneously react to electric and magnetic fields. These two properties are rarely found together, and their combined...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

“Lasers in Composites Symposium” in Aachen – from Science to Application

19.09.2017 | Event News

I-ESA 2018 – Call for Papers

12.09.2017 | Event News

EMBO at Basel Life, a new conference on current and emerging life science research

06.09.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Rainbow colors reveal cell history: Uncovering β-cell heterogeneity

22.09.2017 | Life Sciences

Penn first in world to treat patient with new radiation technology

22.09.2017 | Medical Engineering

Calculating quietness

22.09.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>