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.
The project was successful in increasing the percentage of motor vehicle crash reports received electronically, improving data quality and increasing the timeliness of data available to users for data driven decision making.
Among the lessons learned were:
- Accomplish significantly more by working with multiple agencies from all levels of government. Institutional issues are much more difficult to solve than are technical issues.
- Develop projects in connection with other projects and as part of a larger plan to enhance the products of all the projects. Actively seeking opportunities for the gain from the synergy of related projects is key to making this happen.
- Develop user friendly data collection software that is used by law enforcement officers. User input is essential at the outset of development and continues to be important through implementation and throughout the ongoing use of a data collection tool.
- Provide ongoing support and maintenance for all software.
- Train all users. These essentials demand staff dedicated to these efforts.