Following yearly increases of US traffic fatalities, the 2021 Infrastructure Bill included a strong focus on improving road safety. With that comes plenty of funding – and now it’s important to ensure that this investment is converted into results in the most efficient way possible.
Meanwhile, we continue to absorb more concerning stats and figures. Notably, traffic fatalities hit a 20-year high in the first quarter of 2022, emphasizing that fast and effective improvements are vital. This is where universities can help, with cutting-edge research to provide Departments of Transportation (DOT) with actionable insights.
Here, we highlight how universities can use new funding to make this happen through mobility research powered by real-time data.
Looking at the bigger picture of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill, $110 billion is being dedicated to help ‘repair roads and bridges and support major, transformational projects’. This includes President Biden’s Safe Streets and Roads for All (SS4A) program: a $5 billion investment over five years to fund initiatives that can prevent roadway deaths and serious injuries.
In May 2022, as part of this legislation, Biden and the DOT made a further $450 million available to 35 University Transportation Centers (UTC). They aim to utilize vital college research projects to achieve a number of goals, such as reducing congestion and promoting road safety.
Biden clearly sees university projects as an important part of the Infrastructure Bill spending. Now, it’s about converting this responsibility into game-changing research that surpasses what came before. Here’s how to do it.
It’s time to rethink old-school data capture methods to help reduce fatalities. If you’ve ever conducted traffic and road analysis, you’ll understand the difficulties of extracting rich, accurate insights from masses of historical data. This data is often outdated, and traditional methods can be too expensive, time consuming and labor intensive to make quick and informed decisions.
So, how can you better use funding to conduct more efficient and effective research? This is where the value of connected vehicle data lies. With it, you can incorporate real-time insights, extracted from the very vehicles that are on the road, at the exact time of asking.
This prevents the need to make recommendations based on forecast modeling, or other predictive research methods. It’s data straight from the source, for a fraction of the cost, offering a direct view of roadway activity as it’s happening. This means less time sifting through masses of information, and more time extracting the good stuff that DOTs can use to improve infrastructure and make roads safer.
Even before the Infrastructure Bill passed, real-time mobility data has already been harnessed by universities to help reduce traffic fatalities.
Purdue University paired with Wejo to help the Indiana DOT reveal what was causing such a high volume of work zone crashes and fatalities in their state.
With access to our insights, they were able to identify hard braking events and congestion abnormalities. Following this rich data-driven research, Indiana interstate crashes dropped by 31% between 2019 and 2021 – despite a traffic volume increase.
Discover how we’ve helped other UTCs work with DOTs to handle traffic, fix infrastructure and increase road safety here.