National Tribal Symposium to Advance Transportation: Crash Data Collection and Analysis

May 30, 2019

From May 14-16, 2019 tribal, federal, state, and industry leaders from across the United States who are working on the tribal transportation issues and challenges gathered in San Diego, California for the National Tribal Symposium to Advance Transportation. This event, hosted by the Federal Highway NTS19 LogoAdministration, is held annually in support of the Tribal Technical Assistance Program. It is an opportunity for participants to exchange knowledge and best practices, experience new innovations, and connect with subject matter experts, industry experts and tribal transportation professionals.

On Wednesday, May 15, SafeTREC co-director David Ragland presented SafeTREC’s Tribal Road Safety Data Collection project at the Symposium as part of the “Crash Data Collection and Analysis” session, which highlighted ongoing initiatives intended to help Tribes improve their collection and use of crash data. In the presentation, Dr. Ragland provided an overview of the project phases and shared next steps.

The Tribal Road Safety Data Collection Project

It is vital to improve road safety for California’s tribal populations, as well as for all population groups that travel to the California’s Rancherias and reservations or through their lands. Improving the quality and quantity of data collected in regards to the collisions that occur within the boundaries of these lands is a necessary step to achieving this goal. As part of an effort to improve the collection and utilization of traffic collision data, SafeTREC has worked in collaboration with the National Indian Justice Center (NIJC) since 2014 to enhance the capacity of tribal entities to collect and utilize such data.

Figure displaying number of injuries on tribal land 2005-2014

In the first phase of the project, crashes from the California Statewide Traffic Records System (SWITRS) were identified. California tribal lands do not have a unique jurisdiction code. To identify collisions on tribal lands, SafeTREC researchers overlaid geocoded crash data on tribal shape files provided by the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA). In the second phase, they conducted extensive analyses of fatality and injury patterns on and near tribal areas. In the third phase, a Tribal Crash Data Online Tool was developed that provides tribes with access to a web-based interactive analysis and mapping tool for tribal areas. This tool is password protected and provides a variety of mapping and analysis functions. Currently, planning is underway for a function for entering collision data for submitting crash data to SWITRS.

The Tribal Road Safety Data Collection project provides a starting point for California tribes to access and analyze tribal crash data from existing sources. SafeTREC will continue to collaborate with NIJC to provide guidance and assistance to California tribes to: improve the quality and quantity of traffic collision data collected on and near tribal areas; directly address the issues of under-reporting crash data and excessive EMS response times; conduct training and provide technical assistance to tribal enforcement agencies; and facilitate crash data collection and analysis.

Learn more about how SafeTREC is working to improve road safety for California's Tribes.

Funding for this project is provided by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety (OTS) through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).