Vision Zero – Visualizing Traffic-Related Fatalities

Queens Boulevard's 10-lanes often lull drivers into thinking its a highway rather than a city street. Source: By Nutmegger at English Wikipedia (Self-photographed) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Queens Boulevard’s 10-lanes often lull drivers into thinking its a highway rather than a city street. Source: Nutmegger at Wikipedia

When I first moved to NYC back in ’91, part of my weekly ritual was to haul my laundry to the laundromat.  I stayed with my brother in Maspeth back then, and the nearest laundromat was on the other side of Queens Boulevard on 69th street.

Even then, Queens Boulevard was known as the “Boulevard of Death” and I would take special care in crossing with my often overflowing laundry cart.

At first, I dismissed my brother’s advice, but over the course of the two years I lived there, several gruesome accidents made the local news.

So when we heard about Mayor De Blasio’s Vision Zero plan, we couldn’t agree more. As New Yorkers and urban cyclists, we know first-hand how New York’s bustling streets can be dangerous.

So we quickly decided to put together a Vision Zero section in NYCpedia to help track the initiative.


In the next few days, we’ll also update our community district and council district pages to start tracking and aggregating not only traffic fatalities, but accidents, crimes, 311 complaints and other neighborhood indicators as our contribution to the effort.

* The data is courtesy of CrashMapper’s awesome datascrape of NYPD’s Motor Vehicle Collision Reports (still published as PDF/XLS though – 2-star Open Data). Crashmapper was focused on injuries, not fatalities, so we decided to create our Vision Zero interpretation and link it to our NYCpedia knowledgebase for additional context. If you want to help liberate more data trapped in PDFs, join us this weekend at the PDF Liberation Hackathon.

** NYC has more #opendata than any other city in the US, what with its landmark Municipal Open Data Law.  That’s one reason why an urban informatics startup like ours is based in the Big Apple.

Hopefully, the #opendata floodgates will be opened up a tad more so we don’t have to scrape  data. Towards this goal, BetaNYC created a petition to advocate for #VisionZeroData.  Join us and sign the petition.

And as we advocate for more data-driven civic engagement, join us in BetaNYC’s #BeyondTransparency series for the next month and a half and let us know what #opendata you need!


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