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How Pittsburgh uses big data to make streets safer for all - Cities Today


Any city planner will tell you that safety for all residents is one of the highest – if not the highest – transportation priority.


But spotting and reducing trouble spots, such as high crash zones, requires a fully comprehensive picture of both current and historical traffic data.


To see how equitable a city’s safety record is, requires demographics to be interlinked with traffic patterns. Until recently, obtaining these insights with a high degree of confidence has been nearly impossible.


For decades, cities have gathered traffic data by manually placing counters in high traffic areas. But this method is far from ideal. It’s slow, expensive, requires maintenance (which can be physically dangerous), yields a low and often unrepresentative sample size, and it’s mostly limited to high volume corridors. It just doesn’t offer an equitable view of the city.


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