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The Peter K. O'Rourke Special Achievement Award

2013 GHSA Annual Meeting Awards program cover 2013 Award Descriptions
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The Peter K. O'Rourke Special Achievement Awards recognize notable achievements in the field of highway safety during the prior calendar year by individuals, coalitions, organizations, nonprofit groups, businesses, media, government agencies, universities, or programs. About Peter K. O'Rourke

2013 Winner: ODOT Transportation Safety Division
E-Crash/E-Citation Program

All 2013 Highway Safety Award Winners

Oregon State Police logo

Oregon has one of the lowest police to population ratios in the Western United States. To address this disparity, law enforcement agencies know they must work smarter to address the many safety issues impacting the communities they serve.

In that spirit, local police agencies in Oregon began using electronic ticketing as early as 2004 to more efficiently issue motor vehicle citations. As the use of electronic citation (e-citation) and electronic crash (e-crash) systems have gone mainstream, the Oregon Department of Transportation’s (ODOT) Traffic Safety Division has been promoting their use by police agencies statewide. But that effort has extended well beyond digitally capturing this information to developing a best-in-class system that allows for greater analysis of the data across transportation and law enforcement. The result is the ability for better targeted response to traffic safety problems this week, not next year.

The ODOT Traffic Safety Division program manager worked with two private companies (Advanced Public Safety and The Omega Group) that provide forms automation and data analysis and visualization software to law enforcement, to develop a sophisticated traffic analysis system. The system marries the automated forms that police use for motor vehicle violations, electronic warnings, and crash and crime reporting with a data visualization tool that allows police and traffic safety officials to pinpoint hot spots in near real time. The system links to a data warehouse that enables enforcement agencies to deploy DDACTS-like (Data Driven Approaches to Crime and Traffic Safety) results in a combined software solution that is truly state-of-the-art. This minimizes the need for multiple data analysts and maximizes the data-based problem identification surveillance capability for both local police agencies and the state.

The use of the e-citation system has increased the accuracy and timeliness of the data and enhanced data sharing among agencies. Thanks to the data warehouse, police officers and judges can access a motorist’s traffic citation and crash history in near real time. Since driver data is immediately recorded, stored and shared, the chances of a motorist being identified as a potential problem is significantly increased. And with the inclusion of e-warnings across all customers using the program in Oregon, immediate traffic stop data sharing will be possible regardless of the dispatch and records management system an agency uses. This provides real actionable value to police agencies.

The e-crash system allows for more accurate crash reporting. The software geo-codes and maps every crash location and features a drag and drop diagramming tool that includes a database of all Oregon roadways. Once this data is in the warehouse, it can be analyzed using the visualization tool, resulting in more timely and better identification of problem areas. This includes a statewide surveillance capability and email alert system that allows highway safety officials, police agencies, engineers, and emergency responders to more quickly develop and deploy effective countermeasures focusing on crash problems experienced this week or this month.

Approximately 25 percent of Oregon’s police agencies, including the entire Oregon State Police, are currently using the e-citation and e-crash systems. In 2012, they wrote over 200,000 e-citations and completed 5,000 crash reports. With an estimated time savings of five and ten minutes, respectively, per e-citation and crash report, that translates into one million additional minutes spent serving the community. Additionally, expanded use of data analysis and hot spot data visualization systems, currently being piloted at by the Keizer Police Department and the Marion County Sheriff’s Office, will enable law enforcement to tap into all of its crime and traffic safety data and revolutionize how they address public safety.

Oregon’s persistence has resulted in the creation of a best-in-class highway safety solution that also helps police agencies identify and address a multitude of problems while reducing social harm in the communities they serve. The initiative holds significant promise for other state highway safety offices and their partners.

For more information, contact Steve Vitolo, Oregon Traffic Safety Division Program Manager, at 503-986-4446 or steve.d.vitolo@odot.state.or.us.