UCB SafeTREC Receives $4.28 Million in Grants from the California Office of Traffic Safety

December 3, 2020

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UCB SafeTREC Receives $4.28 Million in Grants from the California Office of Traffic Safety

7 separate projects address crucial traffic safety issues for the safety of all road users in California.

Berkeley, Calif. – The UC Berkeley Safe Transportation Research and Education Center (SafeTREC) received $4,288,700.00 for 7 grants from the California Office of Traffic Safety (OTS) to support crucial traffic safety programs.

“Everyone walking, rolling, or riding on California’s roadways should expect to arrive at their destinations safely. Traffic crashes should not be an expected by-product of travel. We thank the California Office of Traffic Safety for their leadership in providing grants for education, tool development, data analysis, and outreach programs – all with the goal of improving safety on our roadways,” said SafeTREC Co-director Jill Cooper. SafeTREC is a research center affiliated with the UC Berkeley School of Public Health and the Institute of Transportation Studies that seeks to reduce transportation-related injuries and fatalities through research, education, outreach and community service.

The grants will provide support for the following projects:

TIMS: Improve Location Accuracy with Feedback: This project proposes to (1) develop a new feature on the TIMS website to create a feedback system to allow users to alert SafeTREC of potential geocoding location errors for SWITRS records and suggest the correct location, (2) create a new SWITRS data summary page on TIMS to provide high level summary statistics statewide and for a selected jurisdiction, (3) geocode all non-final SWITRS data quarterly and manually geocode any non-geocoded SWITRS after each quarterly data update, and (4) continue administering the site and making functional improvements.

Community Pedestrian and Bicycle Safety Program (CPBSP): The goal of this program is to apply evidence-based solutions to work toward zero pedestrian and bicycle deaths. For this grant, the CPBSP will apply a safe systems framework to community-level planning to address the disproportionate injury risk pedestrians and bicyclists face, particularly in underserved communities. SafeTREC will engage communities by establishing a series of contacts (e.g., meetings, webinars, trainings, follow-up efforts) to strengthen the impact of safety interventions.

Complete Streets Safety Assessments (CSSA): For this project, SafeTREC will provide free expert technical assistance to California's local agency staff in the form of Complete Streets Safety Assessments in order to reduce the number of fatalities of pedestrians and bicyclists and to reduce the injuries and severity of collisions on California's roadways.

SafeTREC: Data Analysis, Technical Assistance, Education and Outreach: For this grant, SafeTREC aims to contribute to traffic records in California and to increase stakeholder and public access to data by: 1) analyzing statewide fatal and injury traffic collision data and trends and research best practices in preventing fatalities and injuries; 2) developing web-based tools and resources to help stakeholders maximize the use of data to target traffic safety programs; 3) developing and disseminating information and resources on fatalities and severe injuries in California; 4) conducting technical assistance, outreach, educational programs, and activities with professional and community stakeholders in order to increase knowledge and awareness of traffic fatality and injury risk and safety best practices; and 5) educating the next generation of traffic safety professionals.

Street Story: Supporting Community Engagement With Crowdsourced Data: For this project, the online community engagement tool Street Story will be expanded to: (1) provide traffic safety data to local organizations and public agencies, (2) conduct targeted outreach with agencies and organizations to increase the platform use, (3) expand Street Story reporting features and data visualizations, for example additional maps and tables, and additional reporting survey options, (4) provide on-going technical assistance to agencies or community groups who use Street Story in their work, (5) maintain and make functional improvements to the platform, and (6) update educational and outreach resources on the website.

Tribal Road Safety Data: This project will continue efforts towards a sustainable tribal-based traffic safety program that increases safety on and near tribal areas in California by increasing: (1) collection of crash data and submittal to SWITRS, (2) capacity to utilize crash data for identifying areas of concern, behavioral patterns, and demographic patterns, (3) capacity for utilizing crash and other data to prepare proposals for road safety improvements, (4) understanding of EMS response in tribal areas, identifying factors for increasing speed and quality of response, and identifying strategies for improvement, and (5) integration and participation in broad state initiatives, such as active transportation programs, infrastructure documentation programs such as MIRE, Strategic Highway Safety Plan (SHSP), and Vision Zero programs.

CATSIP: California Active Transportation Safety Website: This project will add updated county-wide pedestrian and bicycle data, any new California laws and policies, shared active transportation resources, upcoming active transportation events, webinars, funding opportunities, and interactive content like video and blogs to CATSIP. Users will also be able to access new resources on road safety communications and the role the media plays, as well as resources, research and best practices on the Safe System and Vision Zero approaches to road safety.

While motor vehicle fatalities continued to decline in 2019 from the recent peak of 3,804 people killed in 2018, 3,544 victims in 2019 are still too many. These are grandparents, parents, children, friends, co-workers and each life matters. In addition, there were 308 hit and run fatal injuries, 958 pedestrian fatalities and 145 bicyclist fatalities in 2019.

"High quality safety data is critical.” OTS Director Barbara Rooney said. "It’s used to determine the nature of our road safety problems and it informs our actions in how best to address them."

The grant program runs from Oct. 1, 2020 to Sept. 30, 2021.

Funding for these programs was provided by grants from the California Office of Traffic Safety, through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.