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Publication Number: FHWA-RD-99-140

National Model - Statewide Application of Data Collection and Management Technology to Improve Highway Safety

BACKGROUND

Transportation and public safety agencies are under pressure to protect the public by improving safety with fewer resources. Increasingly, the agencies that are involved in transportation safety are finding that they can improve performance by working together and sharing information. The National Model is a partnership between the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and the State of Iowa to demonstrate the successful integration of technologies for data collection, management, and communication of safety information. The objectives of the National Model are to improve data acquisition for roadway incidents, leverage proven technology for law enforcement, streamline the communication of safety information to key stakeholders, and enhance the use of this information for safety programs. New approaches are being used to shorten data collection time, minimize disruption to traffic, increase officer safety and efficiency, and improve data quality.

The State of Iowa is a model for the Nation in how agencies work together to define new business processes and streamline the flow of safety information. Rather then duplicating efforts or developing incompatible solutions at the State level, Iowa agencies use an integrated approach to safety management. The two primary agencies, the Iowa Department of Transportation (Iowa DOT) and the Iowa Department of Public Safety (Iowa DPS), have worked together closely for the successful application of technologies. Iowa DOT leads the efforts involving computer hardware and software technology and Iowa DPS leads the communications component, which makes use of the State's fiber-optics network. Fiber-optics make it possible to move high volumes of data and images. The benefits of Iowa's integrated approach to safety management include:

  • Reduction in the overall effort necessary to collect relevant data.

  • Electronic data acquisition and dissemination of timely and accurate incident information.

  • Common access among agencies to vital incident information, including persons involved, severity, weather conditions, and location.

  • Data transmission and feedback with the court system for citation information and adjudication results.

  • Maturity in the use of analytical tools.

Next: Sharing the Iowa Experience

 

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