Last August, Microsoft announced our partnership with DataKind to support the Vision Zero movement in the U.S., which aims to reduce traffic-related deaths and severe injuries to zero in cities around the world. Today, DataKind is revealing that San Jose, Seattle and New Orleans will join New York City as the lead cities working with DataKind on this initiative.
The DataKind Vision Zero project is a demonstration of the possibilities created by bringing diverse sources of data and expertise together. New data science analyses, using a combination of public and private data, will be designed to help local decision makers identify and evaluate which engineering, education, and enforcement interventions can most effectively address each city’s local efforts to increase traffic safety for all.
Marrying the know-how and passion of the data science and transportation communities is fundamental to this work. On that note, we want to welcome Michael Dowd, the Data Science Fellow who joined DataKind to work full time on this project. Microsoft’s Technology and Civic Engagement team is pleased to be able to support this fellowship and contribute our expertise and relationships across the tech and civic communities to advance this project.
Today’s announcement highlights two key characteristics of the DataKind Vision Zero project – depth and reach. By initially focusing on a handful of cities, we can tailor the analyses and provide insights that are most useful to an individual city’s local priorities and its current stage of the Vision Zero journey. Yet by working with multiple cities, the perspectives and lessons from each city will strengthen the tools created and provide a portfolio of capabilities that will be relevant across the broader Vision Zero network.
For example, in New York City, a number of traffic calming measures have been put in place, and the analyses will assess how those interventions have impacted various types of collisions.
In San Jose, the analyses will identify the most common types and patterns of collisions over the past five years, and leverage the insights from New York to suggest specific approaches to improve different traffic environments.
In Seattle, pedestrian and bicyclist safety have been a top priority, so the analyses will focus on a deep exploration of data to determine the extent to which driver behavior and/or street design is a contributing factor in collisions between vehicles and pedestrians or bicyclists.
In New Orleans, the number of cyclists and pedestrians is growing, so the focus will be on understanding these changing patterns and identifying approaches that improve the timeliness and coverage of data on traffic counts and collisions to allow the city to better protect their new walkers and bikers. This work is expected to leverage techniques and insights from New York and Seattle and evaluate how the portfolio of tools from these projects may be extended to other cities in the future.
This week DataKind Labs is presenting at the Transportation Alternatives Vision Zero Cities Conference in New York City to discuss the importance of using a collaborative approach in this type of work and how other cities can follow suit. Follow the conversation on Twitter at #VisionZero2016 and learn more about the project expansion and the individual city projects on DataKind’s blog.
At the core, all of these projects aim to empower cities to efficiently invest in measures that save lives, and Microsoft is proud to partner with DataKind and the governmental, transportation, and data science communities in New York City, Seattle, San Jose, and New Orleans to make cities safer, better places to traverse and live.