Vehicle-to-vehicle communication promises to prevent thousands of collisions and injuries annually, DOT and NHTSA believe. (Image downloaded from NHTSA August 2014 report)

Five Semifinalists Advance in DOT Safety Visualization Challenge

"These advanced applications show the potential for data-driven safety solutions that the department wants to support," said Under Secretary of Transportation Derek Kan.

The U.S. Department of Transportation announced five semifinalists that are advancing to the next stage of its Solving for Safety Visualization Challenge. The challenge, announced June 14, seeks innovative analytical visualization tools that can improve safety on U.S. road and rail systems.

The five semifinalists are:

  • Arity (Chicago), which will incorporate algorithms using its connected vehicle and driver behavior data to explore the relationship between driving behavior and road design in order to improve highway safety
  • Ford Motor Co. (Detroit), which will combine traditional crash data with connected vehicle and driver behavior data derived from its research, social media, and population data in order to determine crash risks, test solutions, and evaluate results to improve highway safety
  • The University of Central Florida (Orlando), which will integrate real-time and static traffic data in order to allow state and local transportation professionals to use predictive analytics and diagnose real-time safety conditions
  • Uber (San Francisco), which will combine, its web-based tool that visualizes large-scale geolocation data sets, and historical speed data collected from Uber trips with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's Fatality Analysis Reporting System data in order to allow local transportation professionals to better visualize traffic safety data in metropolitan areas
  • VHB (Vanasse Hangen Brustlin, Inc., Raleigh, N.C.), which will use pedestrian avatars and apply game theory techniques to help the decision-maker "see" potential safety improvements from the pedestrian’s perspective in order to inform state and local transportation professionals

DOT has invited each semifinalist to advance to Stage II of the competition, in which the challenge is to create proofs of concept for their analytical visualization tools. After demonstrating their prototype, two finalists will be invited to develop their proofs of concept into full working tools and compete for a portion of the $250,000 final prize.

"These advanced applications show the potential for data-driven safety solutions that the department wants to support," said Under Secretary of Transportation Derek Kan. "Combining new sources of data, new methods of data integration, and new means to visualize and communicate the insights from this data can help the department provide tools to transportation professionals, public safety officials, and the public that can save lives."

The challenge was created to advance the use of safety data visualizations for answering analytical questions related to surface transportation system safety. The semifinalists were selected from 54 submissions by DOT technical experts.

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