Thomas Horan, Researcher, Humphrey School of Public Affairs
SAFETEA-LU legislation mandates the creation of Strategic Highway Safety Plans (SHSPs) that are collaborative, comprehensive, and based on accurate and timely safety data. Transportation planners are challenged to identify and use a range of new data sources beyond traditional crash data systems, as well as to develop strategies for sharing a wide range of data across multiple agencies to support evidence-based safety planning and emergency response. Similarly, while intelligent transportation systems (ITS) have long promised safety benefits, there has traditionally been little emphasis on examining the extent to which emergency medical services (EMS) and trauma systems could provide safety-related data for both real-time benefits and assessment and planning purposes. This research project examined linkages between EMS and trauma information systems and safety planning, focusing on the role of EMS and trauma to provide timely and visual-oriented safety data for system performance improvement and informed decision making. It also considered how these systems might be adapted to the context of large-scale emergency and crisis planning. Methods employed in this project included the analysis of existing health-related data from safety reports (SHSP), EMS, trauma, and related health information systems; analysis of these data sets provided a multifaceted understanding of statewide safety performance features. Feedback analysis from policymakers, planners, public health officials, EMS, safety engineers, and citizens informed the usability, success factors, and value proposition of an enhanced ITS and EMS data system. Policy and planning recommendations, including those for safety and crisis planning, were constructed, presented, and reported. The study found potential benefits of information sharing and posited a normative architecture to guide the design of systems in order to better use and analyze crash data. A proof-of-concept system was recommended for further study.