Using this Site
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Understanding collision data and maps from TIMS
The tools on TIMS provide a means to access, view and map collision data. It is intended that this site will be used for initial explorations into types of collisions or locations that are of interest to a user. The mapping tools are not meant to provide a complete picture of why collisions occur in a particular location. There are numerous factors that can contribute to a collision and simply viewing collisions on a map cannot give the full story. The following factors should be considered when interpreting your results:
In traffic safety terms, exposure is usually referring to the volume of traffic at any given location. A higher level of exposure means there is a higher number of motor vehicles, pedestrians or bicyclists on the roadway. The greater exposure typically equates to more collisions in most cases. For example, an intersection that has 10,000 vehicles crossing through each day compared to an intersection with only 1,000 vehicle crossings will likely have a greater number of collisions over time. Locations near freeway ramps, major corridors, or surrounded by parking lots or retail stores will experience a much higher volume of traffic.
The physical characteristics of the site and the surrounding area can contribute to collisions. Besides the traffic exposure differences between various locations, there may be visibility concerns. An intersection that has blocked visibility in some way, such as on-street parking up to the curb or poorly trimmed bushes may have more collisions. Hills, curves, traffic speeds, and other roadway characteristics may also be associated with reported collisions.
The actions of the driver or other parties involved in a collision also have a significant impact in most cases. Driving under the influence of alcohol or other drugs, speeding, cell phones and other distractions inside of a vehicle are all frequent causes of collisions. No matter how perfect the physical environment may be, human error often plays a major role.
Road conditions, weather, and numerous other factors could also contribute to collisions. Every collision is a unique incident that must be viewed within the context of these, and other, types of factors. However, a thorough investigation can identify the important factors and can improve safety. This is the ultimate goal of the site: to empower researchers, law enforcement, transportation and public health professionals, and safety advocates to help reduce traffic collisions, prevent injuries and save lives.