Idea Center

The Two-Lane Toll

Half of the 42,000 automobile-crash-related fatalities that occur in the United States each year are on two-lane rural roads. To help drivers and public officials make...
by | August 10, 2008

Half of the 42,000 automobile-crash-related fatalities that occur in the United States each year are on two-lane rural roads. To help drivers and public officials make smarter, safer choices about transportation, especially in rural areas, the Center for Excellence in Rural Safety at the University of Minnesota created a new interactive map that plots out every traffic fatality in the nation in 2006. Visitors to the Web site, www.saferoadmaps.org, can enter an address or ZIP code and see where traffic fatalities occurred that year. Each listing also indicates whether speeding or alcohol was a factor, and whether the victim was wearing a seat belt. The Safe Road Maps tool also maps out transportation safety legislation by region so users can see what impact various policies may have had in a given area. Federal data for 2007 will be available this fall and will added to the site. Safe Road Maps uses Google Maps to plot out data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's Fatality Analysis Reporting System. The site also has tutorials on how to use the tool, videos on safe driving, additional educational resources and more. In the past year, Idea Center has written about two transportation projects aimed at making rural roads safer in Missouri and Kansas.

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