Washington DC’s public road crash data to be published every 24 hours


Washington DC mayor Muriel Bowser has announced that the District of Columbia will begin publishing traffic crash data in an open and geocoded format every 24 hours, as part of her Vision Zero initiative to eliminate all road fatalities and serious injuries by 2024.

The new initiative is the result of collaboration between the District Department of Transportation (DDOT), the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD), and the Office of the Chief Technology Officer (OCTO).

The effort is also part of the District Government’s New Open Data Policy, one of the USA’s most progressive and comprehensive, where DC agency data will be open to the public by default to the fullest extent consistent with safety, privacy, and security, and will also streamline the process for government agencies to continue adding to the over 900 data sets currently published.

The open data set will include every reported crash in the District, for all modes of surface transportation. In addition to the location of the crash, summary statistics of the crash are provided such as, the ward in which the crash occurred, the number of injuries (Minor, Major, Fatal), the types of vehicles involved, whether or not drink or drugs impairment was involved, whether or not speeding was involved, the nearest intersecting street names, and the distance from that intersection.

The data also includes a summary of details for each crash, which provide information about each of the persons involved in the crash, such as the type of participant (Driver, Occupant, Bicyclist, or Pedestrian), the age of the participant, whether or not the participant was injured (Minor, Major, Fatal), what type of vehicle the participant was in (passenger car, large truck, taxi, government vehicle, bicycle), whether or not the participant was issued a ticket, and the jurisdiction in which the vehicle is registered.

“Evaluation of safety data is critical in improving the District’s street design, education, and enforcement efforts,” said Bowser. “With this near-real-time publication of open data, data scientists, coders, and civic hackers in the District and worldwide can aid the District in safety analysis and get us closer to Vision Zero.”

DDOT director, Leif Dormsjo, noted, “By taking the lead in traffic data transparency and availability, we are advancing the District’s Vision Zero goals, and most importantly, protecting the traffic safety of residents and visitors. This new data will help the work towards Vision Zero, by providing access to the most informed traffic safety analysis available.”

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About Author


Tom has edited Traffic Technology International (TTi) magazine and its Traffic Technology Today website since May 2014. During his time at the title, he has interviewed some of the top transportation chiefs at public agencies around the world as well as CEOs of leading multinationals and ground-breaking start-ups. Tom's earlier career saw him working on some the UK's leading consumer magazine titles. He has a law degree from the London School of Economics (LSE).