Thursday, 17 November 2011

Road casualty mapping for GB roads

Can you give this new road casualty mapping service a go for us? It shows road casualties for Great Britain for the period 2000 - 2010. Zoom in for more details and find a detailed explanation at the bottom of the page. We are releasing it in the run up to the World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims which takes place this Sunday in many places around the UK and in many other countries.

We are likely to be getting some good coverage of it tomorrow and over the weekend and are keen to get lots of people trying it between now and then. If you have any problems or suggestions then email us at Alternatively you might prefer use twitter (@itoworld). One can embed this mapping into websites and also into Blogger. Instructions are available on the main page itself. Try it here:

It has been developed with financial support from the Department for Transport and from the Technology Strategy Board as part of their funding of Ideas in Transit, a five year project to "promote the understanding, awareness and development of user innovations relevant to transport".

We have a version for the USA in preparation which will be ready prior to Thanksgiving Day (24th November). More soon.


Alexander Kachkaev said...

What could be added in future in my opinion is an option to play with the data by switching categories on and off. You'll need 12 layers of tiles for that, and to avoid performance and bandwidth issues you can try to generate metatiles of size (4*256)*(3*256) and just show the content one above another, toggling visibility of some “layers”. File size will not increase much in this case, as it's png.

It would be also interesting to see details of events by clicking on the objects, especially when there are several overlaying deaths at one location. This is also not so hard to do.

I don't know about your backend, but if it can allow you to return data for building histograms with numbers of incidents over time for the area I am viewing, it would be a cool feature as well and a good tool to see how the situation is changing. You can pre-calculate these numbers for every tile (or a tile of a smaller size) to make such a thing work faster. People want to see if the work that is done to improve road safety really gives a positive effect.

The legend that you're using seems a bit strange to me as to a user: Why triangles, not little squares or bigger circles? Why so much empty space in death boxes, but such a small font? Why 200X instead of just '0x if it's a 10-year period? Why 100% opacity for circles and triangles so that 3 injuries at the same place look indifferent to 33? What does 25-39 mean in a square: does it denote to a death of two or more people at one time or just an unknown age? How many of them were there if it is a first case?

But of course it is a very nice stuff and a good start, and it does a good thing: reminds you how unsafe the roads are.

BTW, are you using Trafficlink data or any other source?

Peter Miller said...

Thanks for you comments. To answer the simple factual question first; 25-39 means 'between 25 and 39 years old' which is because we only have actual ages before 2009. We do also have data back to 1986 which partially explains the 4 digit years but I take your point about font sizes generally.

In our defense we kept it very simple initially to try to ensure that our servers stay up this week when we may get a lot of traffic. Our main message is the macro one, highlighting the massive cost that we accept from our transport choices.

We also kept it a simple because we were short of time and wanted to get it out when we did. We can now start refining the rendering and adding stuff to it. Permalinks will be first. Revised rendering will be next. Then clickable features with more details and adjustable rendering will come soon after and lots more.

Thanks again.

Anonymous said...

very cool! - certainly better looking than my rather unfunded effort 3 years ago -

Chris Hope said...

I saw this on the Guardian site and immediately thought it was one of the best interactive graphics I have seen so far (and said so, see my comments as 'DoctorChris'.)

If there is any way to 'grey out' the background features so that they don't get confused with the data that would be worthwhile. Also some way to emphasize child deaths and injuries.

But, overall, just wanted to say well done.

Simon said...

Very cool BUT-
- as others have said, would be good to isolate individual types (cyclists?) and also to set a date range (has an area become safer/more dangerous)

- in London the zoom level isn't enough to stop the icons overlapping on all major routes. In the words of Withnail "These aren't accidents! They're throwing themselves into the road gladly! Throwing themselves into the road to escape all this hideousness!". Everything just looks deadly - it's not enough to actually identify any particular area as more dangerous

Great first release though.