Skip to Content
Streetsblog Chicago home
Streetsblog Chicago home
Log In
Bicycling

Help Make the Chicago Crash Browser an Even Better Tool for Change

I'm pleased to announce that the Chicago Crash Browser application is now open to the public. The tool, which I've been developing for almost two years, lets you look up the number of crashes where drivers struck pedestrians or cyclists at any location in Chicago. It includes crash data from 2005 to 2011. The purpose of the Chicago Crash Browser is to provide planners and engineers with the info they need to analyze where street safety investments should be made, and to educate residents and elected officials about important traffic safety issues.

The crash browser is still a work in progress, and I've submitted it to the Knight News Challenge to win funding to improve the application.

While the Illinois Department of Transportation hosts a crash map called Safety Data Mart, the interface is slow and difficult to use. The Chicago Crash Browser should make this information much more easily accessible.

Check out these intersections with a particularly high number of bike crashes:

And pedestrian crashes:

Streetsblog Chicago and Grid Chicago have used the tool to find crash data for our posts. Members of participatory budgeting committees in the 46th and 49th Wards (aldermen Cappleman and Moore, respectively) have also used it.

Chicago Crash Browser

The underlying data set, provided by IDOT, has the potential to tell us more about street safety. For example, it would be useful to compare crash data in different wards to measure the effectiveness of infrastructure improvements paid for by aldermen's "menu money" discretionary funds.

The project needs more collaborators so it can tell more of these stories. I uploaded the source code to GitHub, where anyone can edit the code, and submitted the project to the Knight News Challenge. The Knight Foundation will distribute $5 million to a currently unspecified number of projects. If the Chicago Crash Browser is selected, I would use the money to lease a faster server (so it could map the entire state of Illinois), and pay programmers and designers to improve the application.

If you want to support the further development of the Chicago Crash Browser, you can sign up with the News Challenge competition and "applaud" the project.

Stay in touch

Sign up for our free newsletter

More from Streetsblog Chicago

FOIAed letter shows Ald. Hopkins asked CDOT to scrape out dashed bike lanes from Dearborn in posh Gold Coast

The alder says constituents in this affluent neighborhood feel the new street layout is "very problematic and unsafe", but the same configuration has worked fine in other communities.

July 13, 2024

CTAction: It’s silly for CTA to update timetables to reflect “more scheduled rail service” when it can’t deliver its current schedule

The grassroots transit advocacy group says there's no point in advertising more service on the new timetables when the CTA isn't actually providing it.

July 11, 2024

Transit advocates voiced support for 9 Ashland bus extension, transportation committee approved it

A full City Council vote is needed to finalize the project, and the next Council meeting is next Wednesday, July 17.

July 11, 2024
See all posts