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Elevating Traffic Safety in Native American Communities: A Comprehensive Approach with Online Mapping and Crowdsourcing Solutions

Project Description

This proposed project will focus on investigating the effectiveness of modern web-based tools and technologies in improving traffic safety education and decision-making within Native American communities. Technologies that will be implemented and investigated include, but are not limited to, spatial data visualization, spatial data management, spatial analysis, spatial education, and internet mapping. Leveraging free and open-source software programs, modules, and libraries, we aim to implement a tailored online mapping and analysis portal, along with a crowdsourcing tool. This approach ensures a cost-effective solution for the Native American communities we are committed to assisting and serving. The proposed project will begin by organizing comprehensive training workshops in collaboration with the New Mexico Local Technical Assistance Program (LTAP). These workshops will focus on the practical applications and benefits of an existing online traffic crash mapping and analysis portal developed by the University of New Mexico’s Center for Pedestrian and Bicyclist Safety (CPBS). The proposed project will also implement a crowdsourcing web application based on Volunteered Geographic Information (VGI), and at the same time incorporate gamification elements to encourage crowdsourcing of traffic crash data and addressing issues related to insufficient traffic data.

Outputs

The expected four primary outcomes of this project include: (1) three training workshops, with the expectation of engaging 15 or more Pueblos, tribes, or tribal entities, which aim to illustrate the practical applications and benefits of using online crash mapping and analysis tools and technologies for traffic safety improvement; (2) a customized online crash mapping portal for Native American communities, enabling the display and analysis of crash locations and counts, traffic crash hot/cold spots, and crash density; (3) a crowdsourcing tool, integrated with gamification elements, for the collection of traffic crash data, which serves to address the challenge of insufficient traffic safety data within Native American communities; and (4) application programming interfaces (APIs) for the crowdsourcing tool will be developed and freely shared with transportation agencies and community organizations at all levels (e.g., local, state, federal, and tribal) to enable them to develop similar web tools or applications, further spreading a culture of traffic safety in the United States. Two additional outputs of this project are described below. The proposed project also aims to produce one peer-reviewed journal article, which will be focused on evaluating the effectiveness of the workshops, the customized online mapping and analysis portal, and the crowdsourcing tool in empowering Native American communities with the necessary tools and insights to improve road safety. A guidebook will be developed to provide detailed instructions on utilizing the customized online mapping and analysis portal, which will be focused on workforce development and technology transfer (T2) in New Mexico and neighboring states.

Outputs

The expected four primary outcomes of this project include: (1) three training workshops, with the expectation of engaging 15 or more Pueblos, tribes, or tribal entities, which aim to illustrate the practical applications and benefits of using online crash mapping and analysis tools and technologies for traffic safety improvement; (2) a customized online crash mapping portal for Native American communities, enabling the display and analysis of crash locations and counts, traffic crash hot/cold spots, and crash density; (3) a crowdsourcing tool, integrated with gamification elements, for the collection of traffic crash data, which serves to address the challenge of insufficient traffic safety data within Native American communities; and (4) application programming interfaces (APIs) for the crowdsourcing tool will be developed and freely shared with transportation agencies and community organizations at all levels (e.g., local, state, federal, and tribal) to enable them to develop similar web tools or applications, further spreading a culture of traffic safety in the United States. Two additional outputs of this project are described below. The proposed project also aims to produce one peer-reviewed journal article, which will be focused on evaluating the effectiveness of the workshops, the customized online mapping and analysis portal, and the crowdsourcing tool in empowering Native American communities with the necessary tools and insights to improve road safety. A guidebook will be developed to provide detailed instructions on utilizing the customized online mapping and analysis portal, which will be focused on workforce development and technology transfer (T2) in New Mexico and neighboring states.

Outcomes / Impacts

The proposed project outlines a comprehensive strategy to tackle traffic safety challenges within Native American communities by incorporating data, technologies, cultural traditions, community engagement, and focused interventions. This holistic approach begins by raising awareness in Native American communities about tools and technologies that can facilitate the systematic collection, analysis, and interpretation of traffic safety data. Aligned with the Federal Highway Administration’s (FHWA’s) Tribal Transportation Strategic Plan, which places emphasis on enhancing crash data availability and completeness, this solution endeavors to foster community engagement and grassroots involvement in addressing traffic safety concerns through the utilization of contemporary tools and technologies.

Dates

06/01/2024 to 05/31/2025

Universities

University of New Mexico

Principal Investigator

Su Zhang

University of New Mexico

suzhang@unm.edu

ORCID: 0000-0002-0396-2518

 

Susan Bogus Halter

University of New Mexico

sbogus@unm.edu

ORCID: 0000-0003-1685-6367

Research Project Funding

Federal: $42,500

Non-Federal: $42,500

Contract Number

69A3552348336

Project Number

24UNM04

Research Priority

Promoting Safety

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