New technology uses roadway data, risk factors to predict crashes

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MONTGOMERY COUNTY, Md. (WDVM) — The Montgomery Planning Board voted in favor of adding new technology to its Vision Zero roadway safety efforts on Wednesday.

Predictive safety analysis incorporates a number of data points and crash information to predict where collisions are likely to happen in the future. It provides a proactive approach to reducing roadway injuries and fatalities.

David Anspacher, a transportation supervisor, said, “whether it’s the speed of the road, the width of the road, the number of lanes, the volume of walking, bicycling and driving– it tries to look at those contextual factors to predict where other crashes could happen in the county that has those same factors.”

The county’s Vision Zero initiative looks to eliminate all roadway deaths in Montgomery County by 2030.

Partap Verma, a planning board commissioner, said, “I think it’s problematic how we frame the issue and blame the pedestrian. How often do we stop at a stop sign with a complete stop? How often are we stopping at a stop sign before we take that right turn?”

A similar tool has been used to improve roadway safety in Seattle.

Montgomery Planning intends to use the tool to decide where to focus on removing and mitigating risks along local roads.

“In the past three weeks, we’ve had three fatalities alone. There’s always more that we can do, we have a long way to go,” said Anspacher.

Montgomery Planning says personnel savings of $125,000 will go toward implementing the new tool.

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