All of Allegheny County crash data since 2004 now available to public

crash-allegheny

Snapshot of every reported crash in Allegheny County, 2014

For the first time, the public now has easy access to this treasure trove of data

The Western Pennsylvania Regional Data Center (WPRDC) just released all of PennDOT’s Allegheny County crash data, from 2004-2014 (the last year available), to the public.

The public can now sort, filter, download and view all available data, quite possibly for the first time (some information has been scrubbed to protect privacy). Fields include information that a responding officer collects at the scene, such as location, whether the person was a bicyclist or pedestrian, type of impact, impairment, among other factors.

Pro tip: If you want to see the data plotted over a map, after clicking map view, change the Latitude and Longitude fields to DEC_LAT and DEC_LONG, respectively.

One of the first things that you notice is, unsurprisingly, that major corridors see the largest number of crashes. Just about every intersection will have multiple crashes.

While bicycle crashes aren’t quite numerous enough to recognize any striking patterns, over the years there does seem to be a higher frequency of crashes along E. Carson St, the Baum/Centre corridor, and the Liberty/Penn/Smallman corridor in the Strip District.

bicycle-crash-2014

Reported Bicycle Crashes, 2014 (86 out of  12,183)

 

A reportable crash is one in which the incident occurs on a highway or traffic way that is open to the public and an injury or a fatality occurs, or at least one of the vehicles involved requires towing from the scene. This decision to file a report is left up to the responding officer, usually from the municipal police department, and has lead to an underreporting in bicycle and pedestrian crashes. Technically, any injury can trigger a report, but in reality this isn’t always the case, especially if the injury allows the victim to leave on their own. One thing is certain, an ambulance ride will definitely trigger a police report, as well as simply asking for one even, if your injury is minor.

See our “In a Crash?” page for more tips on what to do.

Interestingly enough, regardless of how many crashes were actually reported to PennDOT, the percent of bicycle incidents remains about the same, averaging about 0.7% of all crashes. Since police are only required to report a crash if there is an injury or a tow, it’s important to remember that, since you can’t tow a bicycle, not every bicycle crash is reported (which means that nearly every reported bicycle crash resulted in injury). This is in stark contrast to automobile drivers who benefit from a lower threshold of what gets reported, leading to a fuller picture of what to fix.

Next Steps

The data bring up more questions than it answers, which is exactly what we want. Citizens can now look at data and create visualizations to help understand what is happening on our streets.

For instance, what patterns are emerging? Is there a link between poor sidewalks and pedestrian crashes?

Every single one of those crashes required the City to send out police officers, first responders, and possibly a fire truck. How much are these crashes costing the City?

How much was speeding, or a distracted, aggressive, or unlicensed driver a factor in a crash?

Over the course of the next few months, we’ll be working with data folks at Pitt, CMU, and OpenPGH to try to answer some of these questions.

Now that the data is open to the public, we can’t wait to see what citizen data geeks also uncover.


Membership & Donations: Two Ways to Give! Want to make a financial contribution to Bike Pittsburgh, there are two ways to do that. The most frequently chosen is becoming a member of Bike Pittsburgh. With purchase of a MEMBERSHIP you receive invitations to events, discounts at shops, and discount registration for PedalPGH on August 28, 2016. As a DONOR you can choose your impact, give unrestricted funds to ensure BikePGH has a successful future or donate to a specific program that you want to strengthen.

 

Leave a Reply