Planetizen - Urban Planning News, Jobs, and Education

Using Data to Curb Pedestrian Fatalities and Slow Profiling

Chicago Department of Transportation Chief, Gabe Klein, suggests that crash hot spots should guide efforts to make streets safer.
January 31, 2017, 1pm PST | Casey Brazeal | @northandclark
Share Tweet LinkedIn Email Comments
Leonard Zhukovsky

A recent report from the Chicago Police Department found that 113 people were killed in traffic crashes on the streets of Chicago in 2016. These crashes didn't just happen at random—there are places where crashes happen more frequently and those places don't tend to happen in the richest parts of the city. "A preliminary analysis by the Department of Public Health found that residents facing economic hardship suffer crash fatalities at a rate nearly twice as high as those who don't," John Greenfield writes in The Reader.

This would lead one to think there should be more traffic stops in these communities and, while that may be true, there are problems with that strategy. "These are largely the same lower-income south- and west-side neighborhoods where most shootings take place. But, as the [U.S. Department of Justice] report outlines, these communities are already plagued by police abuses, so there's the potential for an increase in traffic stops to make that problem worse," Greenfield writes.

Former Chicago Department of Transportation official, Gabe Klein, suggests using data on hot spots to create deterrents, to stop accidents before they happen. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the U.S. Department of Justice drafted the "Data-Driven Approaches to Crime and Traffic Safety" report, which, "advises police departments to target these problem areas with highly visible traffic enforcement efforts, such as posting officers at intersections or installing red light or speed cams, to deter various types of crimes," Greenfield writes. Klein and Greenfield speculate that if the city had not faced scandals over its implementation of red light cameras, more of these strategies would have been implemented. 

Full Story:
Published on Wednesday, January 25, 2017 in The Chicago Reader
Share Tweet LinkedIn Email