Attribute Standardization of Car Crashes and Its Potential Uses

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Virginia Tech

The primary focus of our research endeavor centers around standardizing the spatial attributes of police-reported crash records in the Commonwealth of Virginia. The Center for Geospatial Information Technology at Virginia Tech (CGIT) is working in support of the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles Highway Safety Office’s mission to improve public safety. This data will be used by highway safety officials to identify particularly dangerous intersections and road segments across the commonwealth. We evaluated the crash factors and characteristics present in the dataset to better understand the potential that geospatial techniques can provide to the highway safety community. We elected to analyze crashes involving the black bear (Ursus Americanus) to see what observation could be made. To start, it was necessary to define the criteria to identify crashes involving bears. This was initially done manually by using an SQL request to obtain all records from 2018 crash data where the word ‘bear’ is referenced in the officer’s narrative. From there, we conducted a manual sort of the remaining data to help craft future, more efficient SQL requests for other years Once all records involving bears have been found, the data will be rendered in ArcGIS. Some exploratory analyses we plan on conducting involve identifying routes with high incidences of bear-related crashes, overlaying the crashes with known Wildlife Urban Interfaces (zones where housing density >6.17 housing units/km2 and vegetation cover >50%), and overlaying the crashes with the known habitats of the black bear in the commonwealth to observe if and how they may differ.