Help Make the Chicago Crash Browser an Even Better Tool for Change
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:
- Ogden, Milwaukee, Chicago
- Lakefront Trail and Montrose Avenue (there’s confusing signage here: cars have a stop sign but bikes have a yield sign)
And pedestrian crashes:
- Michigan and Randolph (following a 2004 crosswalk removal, pedestrians are required to cross the street three times to get from the Chicago Cultural Center to Millennium Park; many cross illegally instead)
- Damen, Milwaukee, North
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.
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.