Experience of Iowa DOT in the enhancement of the statewide crash data reporting with automated collection and data capture tools
National Model for the Statewide Application of Data Collection and Management Technology to Improve Highway Safety
In 2005, the Iowa DOT conducted an evaluation of a project to enhance the statewide crash data reporting with automated collection and data capture tools. The project provided funding for computer hardware and peripherals to expand the use of the National Model for the Statewide Application of Data Collection and Management Technology to Improve Highway Safety to more law enforcement agency throughout Iowa. Total funding for the project was $275,000.
Initially 19 law enforcement agencies were selected for participation. All the agencies participated except for the Iowa State University Department of Public Safety and the Woodbury County Sheriff's Office. One agency, the Atlantic Police Department, was added to the project.
The project successes include
- Increased percentage of motor vehicle crash reports received electronically
- Improved data quality
- Data being available to users is more timely for data driven decision making.
The validations built into the Traffic and Criminal data collection software (TraCS) checks the data at the time of entry and provides the officer immediate feedback. Editing the data at the point of capture significantly improves data quality. TraCS also produces a more readable and professional looking report.
The receipt of 68 percent of the crash reports electronically allows the Iowa DOT to stay current with manual data entry of paper reports. This has allowed the agency to move to running enterprise level edits weekly instead of after the year is complete. Editing the data timely allows agency staff to add new validations to TraCS as they see issues arise to the result of further increasing data quality.
More importantly, the data is available to users to support data driven decision making. Iowa DOT is able to provide statewide crash data on a quarterly basis. At the beginning of the project, the available data was 1.5 to 3 years old.