11 August 2021 | Innovation | BY: TWM Traffic Control Systems

New data analysis solution from Pilot Group identifies accident hotspots and helps improve road safety

Data scientists at technology business Pilot Group have developed a tool to better identify road accident hotspots, thereby helping authorities best deploy solutions to improve road safety for both drivers and pedestrians.  Pilot Group is using industry-leading algorithm-based data analysis to investigate trends in accident types in specific locations and thereby categorise risk and advise on best-fit solutions to minimise risk.

Through identifying key dark spots, Pilot Group’s data can help authorities put in place measures through TWM Traffic Control System (TWM), their traffic control solutions branch of the group. To reduce issues such as speeding and educate or alert drivers about potential hazards in an area, these measures can involve vehicle activated signage, speed control signs and speed indication devices (SIDs). Additionally, these can be integrated with the TWM Central Management System for full asset management, monitoring the status of the signage and also automating processes such as reduced speed limits or flashing signs times. These solutions can also integrate sensor technology to collect data such traffic counters or the number of speeding incidences which can provide vital support for initiatives such as School Streets or Active Neighbourhoods.

Chris Rayner, National Sales Manager for TWM, commented: “We believe using data is vital when identifying where to install traffic safety measures. By understanding the trends and insights, we can make informed decisions with our customers that will have the biggest impact on casualty reduction. Intelligent transport systems do not only involve the technology within our signage but also what we do with the data that these systems collect. Solutions based on accurate data is more likely to deliver safer roads around our schools.”

Helping school environment safety

In their latest project, Pilot Group has identified accident hot spots located around schools in the North West region of England. Looking at schools in Greater Manchester and the M62 corridor, Pilot Group’s analysis has identified over 25 schools categorised as ‘High Risk’, with 562 accidents occurring within 500m of schools in one region between 2017 and 2020, 89% of which happened between Monday and Friday.

Further analysis of the Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) has revealed that 26 schools there have had at least 5 local accidents since 2017 within 100m of schools, which can be a vital indicator to suggest a higher likelihood of recurring accidents in the future. The data uses criteria such as speed limit, road class and accident severity to help categorise which areas are most at risk.

Chris Rayner commented, “This insight allows us to look at supporting initiatives such as the school streets scheme by installing Daybright zebra crossings, speed indication signs, LED speed limit signs, and / or flashing amber safe route to school signs. All of these can be integrated into a central management system to automate the times these signs are in operation.

“Where allowed, we can also incorporate ANPR – automatic number plate recognition – to identify offenders. This can then be used as evidence to support introducing pedestrianised areas or significantly reduced speed limits at set times.

He concluded, “Data intelligence is a hugely important tool in helping us make informed decisions that will make the biggest impact to road safety. Our schools research in particular shows the huge potential that intelligent data analysis can play in helping make our roads and pavements safer for both road users and pedestrians.”