U.S. Department of Transportation
Federal Highway Administration
1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
Washington, DC 20590

Skip to content
Facebook iconYouTube iconTwitter iconFlickr iconLinkedInInstagram

Federal Highway Administration Research and Technology
Coordinating, Developing, and Delivering Highway Transportation Innovations

This report is an archived publication and may contain dated technical, contact, and link information
Publication Number: FHWA-RD-99-052
Date: February 1999

Expert Systems for Crash Data Collection: Final Report




This report provides information on the development and testing of expert systems to improve the completeness, consistency, and quality of police–reported crash data. The systems were developed with input from police officers, a vehicle safety engineer, a crash reconstructionist, a crash investigation trainer, and a highway safety analyst. State agencies that have police officers using pen–based computers to collect State–reported crash data can integrate the expert systems with their computer software.

Michael F. Trentacoste
Director, Office of Safety Research,
Development and Technology


Expert Systems for Crash Data Collection: Final Report

PDF Version (4.23 MB)

PDF files can be viewed with the Acrobat® Reader®



1. Report No.


2. Government Accession No. 3. Recipient's Catalog No.
4. Title and Subtitle

Expert Systems for Crash Data Collection

5. Report Date

February 1999

6. Performing Organization Code
7. Author(s)

Carol Y. Thielman

8. Performing Organization Report No.
9. Performing Organization Name and Address

Calspan, An Operation of Veridian
4455 Genesee Street
P.O. Box 400
Buffalo, NY 14225

10. Work Unit No. (TRAIS)


11. Contract or Grant No.


12. Sponsoring Agency Name and Address

Office of Safety and Traffic Operations R&D
Federal Highway Administration
6300 Georgetown Pike
McLean, Virginia 22101–2296

13. Type of Report and Period Covered

Test Report
July 1997 – September 1998

14. Sponsoring Agency Code
15. Supplementary Notes

Contracting Officer's Technical Representative (COTR) - Michael S. Griffith, HSR-20 Clarence W. Mosher, King K. Mak, and TARAS Inc. were subcontractors. King K. Mak and John Painter of TARAS Inc. were members of the Expert Panel.

16. Abstract

There is a demand by the highway safety community for better quality crash data to meet a variety of needs. The goal of the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) Expert Systems for Crash Data Collection Program was to use expert systems technology to improve the accuracy and consistency of police– reported data. The program included the development and evaluation of three expert systems: (1) Seat Belt Use of Derivation; (2) Vehicle Damage Rating, including Extent of Deformation; and (3) Roadside Barrier Problem Identification.

Police officers used pen–based computers, containing the expert systems, to collect on–scene crash data. Embedded in the expert systems are data collection knowledge derived from experts in crash data collection and analysis. The expert systems use this knowledge to intelligently select the data to collect and assign values to elements. This knowledge is also included in on–line help screens that aid the officer in accurately identifying the physical characteristics of the crash scene.

The expert systems were evaluated during two field tests. The field test results showed that the expert systems: (1) were well accepted by the officers, (2) were validated by experts in the expert system domain areas, and (3) the officers collected data on an average of approximately 2 minutes per expert system.

17. Key Words

Accident data collection, accident data reporting, crash data collection, crash data reporting, expert systems, data collection systems, police accident report, police crash report

18. Distribution Statement

No restrictions. This document is available to the public through the National Technical Information Service, Springfield, VA 22161.

19. Security Classification (of this report)


20. Security Classification (of this page)


21. No. of Pages


22. Price

Form DOT F 1700.7 (8-72) Reproduction of completed page authorized



Federal Highway Administration | 1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE | Washington, DC 20590 | 202-366-4000
Turner-Fairbank Highway Research Center | 6300 Georgetown Pike | McLean, VA | 22101