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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-99-140

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


Iowa is actively sharing their experiences with other State and local agencies and providing the technical assistance necessary to enhance these other agencies' public safety information systems. Direct visits by Iowa staff have been made to many States. In December 1998, 9 States were represented at a National Model Workshop.


An integrated set of electronic forms has been developed that shares data among all forms, eliminating duplicate entries and providing for immediate electronic transmission to remote files at both the State and local levels. The forms include:

  • Crash reports (including on-site driver information exchange).
  • Commercial vehicle inspections.
  • Citations.
  • Drunk driving reports.
  • Incident reports.

In using this suite of electronic forms, Iowa takes advantage of the following technologies:

  • Pen-based computers.
  • Portable printers.
  • Bar code readers.
  • Digital cameras.
  • Global Positioning Systems (GPS).
  • Geographical Information Systems (GIS).

Other technologies will be examined, including laser measuring devices and voice recognition.

Mobile pen-based computers facilitate onsite data collection for highway incidents

Mobile pen-based computers
facilitate onsite data collection
for highway incidents.


Crash analysis software specifically developed to meet the needs of engineers and enforcement personnel has been used for several years, but there was a desire to develop Geographical Information Systems (GIS) analysis and "smart map" tools so that results could be geographically displayed. Historical crash records were referenced with a link-node system and the roadway data was referenced to a roadway-segment system. By relating both files to an x, y coordinate system, the data could be integrated and displayed using GIS. The GIS analysis software has been developed and the crash data collection software discussed above generates a file that directly interfaces with it. This interface has made it possible to populate some of the crash report elements without asking the officer to enter them. Those elements include items such as road-surface type, locality, type of traffic way, speed limit, road class, route number/name, milepost, and roadway geometrics.

Next: Major Activities Planned For 1999 and 2000

Cover | Background | Sharing the Iowa Experience |
Status of National Model Activities | GIS - An Important Tool |
Major Activities Planned For 1999 and 2000

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