Thomas Horan, Researcher, Humphrey School of Public Affairs
The SAFETEA-LU legislation mandates Strategic Highway Safety Plans (SHSPs) that are collaborative, comprehensive, and based on accurate and timely safety data. While ITS has long promised the opportunity to realize these objectives, there has traditionally been little emphasis on examining the extent to which Emergency Medical Services (EMS) systems could provide safety related data for transportation safety assessment and planning. This proposal represents Phase III of the ITS and Transportation Safety research project which began in January of 2008. During the first phase of this project, expert interviews and a literature review were completed and highlighted the need for an integrated trauma information network system. Case study research was conducted at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota; as well as, on focus groups with decision makers at Minnesota state level agencies. Phase II continued this work; populating an initial geographic and web-based "CrashHelp" system prototype with case study data. Highlighted within this application is the spatial distribution of automobile crashes that resulted in trauma center admission and treatment, and linked EMS and patient outcome data in a unified view. This third phase of research will utilize the CrashHelp prototype to investigate aggregate performance across a range of crash related EMS incidents at the state level, in a manner aimed at determining national applicability. The justification is that there is a lack of such assessment tools to provide system level information for transportation and emergency response planning, especially socio-demographic data. This phase of research will involve: completing a comparative case study in Idaho (Task 1) to further expand generalizability of findings; the development of aggregate clinical and operational performance metrics to include within the CrashHelp prototype (Task 2); and soliciting practitioners' feedback on the value, utility, and National generalizability of the CrashHelp system (Task 3).