Are you Road Safe?

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Project Brief

AreyouRoadSafe is an information tool that demonstrates how safe people matching their profile are on Victorian roads. AreyouRoadSafe is a website designed for Victorians to better educate and remind themselves of the importance of safety in and around vehicles. The test uses your age and gender to generate a personalised driver aware profile and advises on situations and scenarios which historically have been fatality hotspots. The Victorian Map compares different regions and the graph shows the fatality incidence (per 100,000 people) for people like yourself.

Together these three components (driver aware profile, regional fatality map and fatality incidence graph) provide a snapshot of how well the TAC campaigns have performed over time across different demographics, highlights geographic patterns and provides all road users with an important and worthy reminder of the importance of careful driving with uninterrupted concentration.

Why do this?

The purpose of AreyouRoadSafe is to better explain and present the current road toll and highlight to the general public where similar road users have made costly mistakes. The broad publication of single road toll figures in print, visual and social media is usually restricted to a twelve month and national comparison. Real figures, especially those relating to individuals is rarely disseminated. The objectives of AreyouRoadSafe are to disseminate information about the impact and importance of road safety messages and educate drivers, passengers and pedestrians about risk situations.

There were less vehicle related accidents in Victoria during 1929 than there were in 2014. Despite the massive boom in population growth and vehicle usage, Victoria experienced record lows in absolute terms in 2013 (243). To get a true gauge of road toll figures and the impact of TAC education campaigns the TAC data was integrated with population data sets from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), the number of deaths could be better expressed as a rate per 100,000. The data mashup involved enumerating population records.

Like the reduction of smoking, the reduction in lost lives due to vehicle-related incidents has been remarkable in Victoria. From its peak of nearly 30.5 persons per 100,000 in 1970, to 9.5 persons per 100,000 in 1999 - and most recently in 2014 to less than 4.5 persons. The profound impact of the road safety campaigns is undeniable.Using ABS and TAC statistics, without road laws, technological advances and TAC road safety campaigns it can be projected that more than 1550 additional lives would have been lost last year alone.

In recent years, both the absolute count and incidence level has seemingly begun to stagnate. A goal of the AreyouRoadSafe is to illustrate to road users how they are performing relative to the past and areas which for different demographics require community discussion. The tool can be used by the broad community including young learner drivers, educators, instructors, parents and campaigners.

As we investigated the data deeper and conducted general research, it became more obvious that technology and law offered transformational changes in road tolls, its public education and campaign that plays a significant role - particularly at local levels. For example, in 2012 Greater Geelong roads were the most deadliest in the State, improved the following year and climbed again last year.

How it was done and what it showed

The project involved the use of three primary datasets namely the Victorian Road Toll (TAC), Population data for Victoria based on gender (ABS), Local Government Area boundaries (VicMap). Each of these datasets were merged into a mySQL database and many were manipulated. For example, the census data was enumerated to match the age divisions used by the TAC data. Local Government boundaries were grouped into regions to allow for the meaningful display of information.

When we looked deeper at the data we were surprised by two findings - the road toll had stagnated and that he community perception that road fatalities involved young, inexperienced drivers was incorrect. In fact, morning and afternoon peak times across weekdays as people conducted daily activities involved a large number of fatalities.

The AreyouRoadSafe tool provides this information to the community. It allows users to explore the highest causes for death on our roads when considering the age profile and gender.

The Personalised Driver Aware profile provides information on the highest risk areas across a number of factors such as type of road, day of the week, time of the day and accident type. The fun, text-based profile is easy to understand and is fully customised for the user. The profile is generated using nearly thirty years of data.

The Region-based map allows the user to analyse how similar users compare across Victoria. Road fatalities have a huge impact on the community, they also drive infrastructure spending and safety awareness campaigns. The information can be mashed with other datasets such as infrastructure spending, socio-economic data, alcohol consumption, road networks and weather conditions to further explore causes and build awareness campaigns.

Whilst innovation and laws have had a profoundly, positive impact on reducing the road toll. The public awareness can greatly impact short and medium spikes and troughs in the road toll. To better understand road safety we created specific incidence graphs (1 in 100k) which provided a far more accurate assessment.

Over the past 28 years, the TAC has clearly contributed significantly to reducing the road toll. The impact is unquestionable. Everyone is aware of the importance of road safety. However, every lost life is a life wasted. The aim of AreyouRoadSafe is to illustrate to all drivers the importance of always taking additional care when on or near our roads.


Datasets Used: 
Victorian Road Toll (TAC) Victorian LGA Boundaries ABS Population

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