This blog has reported before on the difficulty of obtaining motor vehicle crash information from the New York Police Department. This changed last week when the NYPD announced a major upgrade to the accident data that publishes crash statistics daily, instead of monthly as was previously the case.
The improved service, which is published on the city’s data portal, the public can sort crash information by time of day, street, zip code, borough, as well as the number of injuries and fatalities.
The executive director of Transportation Alternatives, a street safety organization, said, “”Up until now, New Yorkers haven’t had the opportunity to easily assess the relative safety of their street, the route their child walks to school, or their neighborhood at large. The Mayor’s announcement represents an important step forward to present crash data in a timely fashion that New Yorkers can view, understand and use, so that we can all make our city safer.”
By creating easy access to crash data, the city has bypassed a City Council bill that would require law enforcement to map crash information. However, the data is not complete, reaching back only to July 2012. The department has been publishing crash data since July 2011, albeit in a difficult-to-use format.
Another issue still to be resolved lies in the crash location information. The geographic coordinates now provided allow for better mapping, but the location information is still tied to the nearest intersection, rather than the actual location of the accident.
Critics of the NYPD, while generally positive about the new source of crash data, continue to raise concerns about the imprecision of summons data reported by the city. Currently, the NYPD reports summonses by precinct, rather than by actual location, making it much less accurate than the newly released information source about motor vehicle accidents.
Source: Streetsblog, “NYPD Crash Data Now Easier to Use and Updated Daily,” May 7, 2014.