Why we do this
In order to make our transportation more sustainable, we will need to increase the portion trips that is made with options other than in a car with a single occupant. Public transport is one part of that, and the other should come out of encourage biking and walking.
Most New Jersey residents drive a car, and all of us are also pedestrians. Bicycling takes up a special position: A study by Portland State University shows that among adults, less than 1% fall in the “Strong and Fearless” category; about 7% are “Enthused and Confident”. On the other hand, about a third (33%) will not bike no matter what. In between there is a large number of adults (60%) who are interested in using their bikes more, but are concerned about road safety. If we want this large “Interested But Concerned” cohort to use their bikes for local trips, we must convince them that our roads and streets are safe.
The statistics show that there is a good reason for concern. For instance, in 2016 bicyclists and pedestrians account for 50% of traffic fatalities in Mercer County, NJ; nationwide, that portion is 20%. Considering that total bicycle-miles are insignificant compared to vehicle-miles, these numbers indicate that our roads are far more dangerous to bicyclists and pedestrians than for car drivers. Addressing this tragic situation will encourage people to leave their cars at home and travel (at least the short trips) on foot or on bike.
Making streets safer for bicyclists and pedestrians also makes them safer for car drivers. In the United States, traffic fatalities are a silent epidemic claiming tens of thousands of lives each year. In fact, recent years have seen a rise in traffic fatalities, to more than 40,000 in 2016. While this huge loss of life has been accepted as an unavoidable cost of transportation, it need not be. Indeed, a new planning paradigm called Vision Zero has put each year. In fact, recent years have seen a rise in traffic fatalities, to more than 40,000 in 2016. While this huge loss of life has been accepted as an unavoidable cost of transportation, it need not be. Indeed, a new planning paradigm called Vision Zero has put the Complete Streets framework.
A map of traffic crashes can be an invaluable tool in planning for safer streets. An interactive map is visually appealing and therefore memorable. Such a map can show at a glance where the problem corridors are, helping planners with a finite budget determine which streets or roads most urgently need to be re-designed.
Filtering the data so that the map shows only crashes that involve cyclists and/or pedestrians can help make the streets safer for the most vulnerable users. Filtering for time of day can help a police department determine when and where to implement traffic enforcement with optimal effect.