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Geographic Information Systems

Traffic Accident Mapping MSP Stat

The Washington College GIS Program has formed a partnership with the Maryland State Police (MSP), with the use of data provided by the State Highway Administration (SHA), to analyze traffic accidents statewide through density mapping and the creation of infographics.

Washington College’s Crime Mapping and Analysis Program (CMAP) provides detailed mapping and analysis products to the Maryland State Police related to traffic accidents for use in their bi-weekly MSP Stat meetings. This detailed mapping and analysis is performed by collecting all traffic accident data for the entire state of Maryland and dividing this data into the 22 Maryland State Police Barrack Districts. 

The initial traffic accident analysis overlays individual crash locations, specifically those handled by the Maryland State Police, with a density layer that reflect the areas of that district with the highest crash incidences, or hot spots. This product provides more general analysis highlighting high crash areas for every crash that occurred in the district being mapped. Secondary traffic accident analysis focuses the density analysis to only crashes occurring on MSP primary responsibility roadways dictated by MOU’s between Maryland State Police and each County. The same analysis is performed generating a density depicting highest incident crash locations throughout the district, however; this density is generated only from crashes occurring on MSP primary responsibility roads. The top four density areas with the highest occurrence of traffic accidents within each district are highlighted for further analysis. Tertiary traffic accident analysis focuses on these four density areas by zooming in on the high crash density areas and overlaying crash point locations investigated by MSP. Within each of the four focus areas, SHA crash points are selected and analysis is performed on their attribute data for: Accident Severity, the First Harmful Event of the Crash, the Second Harmful Event of the Crash, Collision Type, and the crash Contributing Code. Pie charts depicting the different attribute analysis’ totals and percentage distribution are provided to provide further insight into potential trends causing the high incidence in traffic accidents.

Washington College’s CMAP team has developed an infographic to provide a segmented roadway traffic accident analysis that is easier to comprehend. An infographic is a graphic visual representation of data that presents information in a clear manner, allowing Command Level staff to quickly identify patterns and trends in traffic accident data occurring on a linear roadway. To develop infographics for MSP CompStat meetings, crash data is collected from Maryland State Highway Administration (SHA), and citation data is provided from MSP. A GIS dataset containing mile marker points and a line route of interstates, highways, and state roads is also provided by SHA to complete the analysis. A target section of a roadway is provided which is segmented at mile markers or intersecting routes. The conversion of a road map to an infographic results in an organized, focused, and easily comprehensible graphical analysis that highlights segments of roadways with high crash and citation incidences. This method of analysis has been applied using MSP’s Reducing Crime and Crashes (RCAC) initiative, which focuses on analyzing crash data to determine “hot spots,” or high density crash areas. The main objectives of the RCAC initiative are to:

  1. Develop strategic operations which focus enforcement activities in identified “Hot Spots”
  2. Partner with allied agencies and other stakeholders in developing enforcement plans
  3. Document accomplishments and provide updates to command staff at regularly scheduled accountability meetings
  4. Share results with community members, local government administrators and elected officials
  5. Monitor and evaluate outcome measures to determine the effectiveness of operations relating to reductions in crime, collisions and traffic violations, cost savings and personnel deployment
  6. Adjust operations as needed