February 24, 2014
Visualizing Traffic Safety as We Prepare for Vision Zero

Tomorrow marks the City Council’s first hearing on Vision Zero, held by the Committees on Transportation and Public Safety.  Vision Zero is a response to a dramatic uptick in traffic-related fatalities around NYC.

Sadly, the NYPD makes studying these fatalities extremely difficult, insisting that data only be released in pdf form because the public is not able to understand the data.   But the NYPD Crash Data Band-Aid to the rescue.  With the help of that data, I was able to make this heat map of traffic-related fatalities in NYC in 2013:


The map clearly shows some areas that are hot-beds in the city for traffic-deaths.  Williamsburg is one area that stands out on the map, and it turns out that when I merge these deaths with NYC neighborhood data (Neighborhood Tabulation Areas), Williamsburg beats out all other neighborhoods in traffic-deaths for 2013. 


To see what is going on in Williamsburg, I plotted these fatalities on a map and zoomed in around that area:


One word: Broadway.  It’s really striking to think about that many deaths near one stretch of road in only one year.

There are other hotbeds as well, like Queens Blvd:


Or Grand Concourse in the Bronx, where we see three deaths on three consecutive blocks in a year:


In 2013, 23% of our traffic deaths occurred in just 5% of our neighborhoods.  Addressing these problem-areas seems like a great first step, but Vision Zero cannot be as simple as fixing hot-beds. 

In fact, most traffic-deaths occur outside of these areas.  In 2013, 60% of traffic deaths occurred in neighborhoods with at most 2 fatalities. A zoomed out view of NYC makes that point:


The hope is that with Vision Zero in place, future maps like this will be much sparser.

Charts made with QGIS and Raster HeatMap plugin.  

Note that my data is only as good as the NYPD Crash Data Band-Aid’s data, so there could be some errors in it.  This noise is a direct result of the NYPD choosing not to release the data in a more digestible form.  

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Filed under: opendata nyc dot maps visionzero NYPD 
  1. lawampm reblogged this from iquantny
  2. breuckelener reblogged this from iquantny and added:
    “In 2013, 23% of our traffic deaths occurred in just 5% of our neighborhoods.”
  3. iquantny posted this