The Connecticut Transportation Institute (CTI), a center operated by the School of Engineering at UConn, and the Connecticut Department of Transportation (ConnDOT) have inked an agreement that establishes the Connecticut Transportation Safety Research Center at the University’s Depot Campus in Storrs, CT.
The center will assist the state of Connecticut in creating a new “E-Crash” accident data collection system that will dramatically improve the way information for the state’s automotive crash database is collected and processed. It also will create and maintain a repository of statewide accident information that will allow public safety personnel, town officials, and members of the public to easily access a wide variety of accident information, including the number of accidents in a town by location, date, street, injury type, or collision type. The database, currently under development at ctcrash.uconn.edu – will allow information to be analyzed to identify hazardous areas, crash patterns and trends.
The Connecticut Transportation Safety Research Center (CTSRC) is expected to distinguish Connecticut as a national leader in transportation safety research and crash data distribution.
ConnDOT has committed $600,000 for the center’s first year of funding with the intention of providing subsequent yearly funding at this same level. The agreement took effect September 1. The CTSRC is expected to benefit Connecticut citizens in a variety of ways: the development of efficient tools for the collection and analysis of motor vehicle crash data; the launch of an efficient and easy to use web-based system to provide public access to crash data; a variety of outreach programs to educate the public about specific Connecticut safety concerns; and a means to conduct transportation safety research that has state, national and global implications and applications.
“Our current crash reporting system, which met the needs of earlier generations of state and local safety planners, is in need of being overhauled and replaced with a state-of-the-art system that enhances our ability to collect, analyze and use timely, complete and accurate crash data,” said DOT Commissioner James P. Redeker. “The center will be part of a larger strategic effort already under way with DOT and the law enforcement community that will bring our crash system in line with national standards for data quality, and the latest concepts in capturing and moving crash data electronically. When complete, it will be one of the most timely and up-to-date systems in the country.”
An initial step of the center will be to aid in the development and promotion of an “E-crash” software system that will result in the electronic collection and submission of 100 percent of the State’s crash data. According to Dr. Eric Jackson, an Assistant Research Professor and the new center’s Director, the “E-Crash” system will replace the current paper-based data entry system and likely save the State considerably through reduced resources and labor currently needed for the timely, accurate collection of crash reports from State and local police departments. More than 5,000 paper crash reports are filed with ConnDOT each month. Currently, only about 30 percent of all crash reports are filed electronically. This reliance on paper reports has caused an extensive backlog in crash data collection due to the manual data entry required.
The new “E-Crash” data collection system is being developed by the CTSRC in collaboration with ConnDOT, Connecticut’s Criminal Justice Information System, and the Capitol Region Council of Governments. Once installed, the system will be made available at little or no cost to police departments and will set a statewide standard for crash data entry, submission and transfer.