Research In Action

Research In Action

developing a new traffic safety resource
Developing A New Traffic Safety Resource

Last week my colleague Dr. Allison E. Curry wrote about our innovative partnership with the New Jersey Division of Highway Traffic Safety (HTS) to establish the NJ-SHO Center for Integrated Data. I’m excited to add to the conversation by describing our plan to make that happen over the next several years.

As an injury epidemiologist with a background in public health, I value the use of data to illustrate critical issues in safety at the population level. We began integrating data for the over a decade ago in order to conduct research on young driver safety. We quickly realized that the unique features of this data warehouse – which include crash reports, driver’s licensing histories, hospital discharges, birth and death records, and residential neighborhood information for NJ residents – offered us the ability to expand our traffic safety research. We could include other types of road users, driving behaviors, and driving outcomes, as well as collaborate with new research partners at CHOP and at other institutions.

Promoting a Safe and Healthy NJ

The development of the NJ-SHO Center for Integrated Data will allow us to share these data, and the research derived from these data, with an even wider audience. With a mission to “promote a safe and healthy New Jersey through innovative data linkage and data sharing to support solutions that reduce injury,” the NJ-SHO Center for Integrated Data website will become an in-depth source of traffic safety information for all New Jerseyans.

The centerpiece of our website will be a public-facing interactive data dashboard with high-quality data visualizations. The data dashboard will offer NJ citizens the ability to track progress on high-priority traffic safety and injury prevention goals at the state and local level. We are currently talking with a wide variety of stakeholders about how they would like to interact with the data and how they plan to use it in their traffic safety and injury prevention efforts.

This information sharing will inform the initial build of the dashboard, as well as its medium-range and long-term phases. We plan to engage with stakeholders throughout the life of this project and incorporate new information and features over time.

We also plan to include descriptions of our past, current, and future work on the website. These will include summaries of key findings from research studies that used these data, as well as evidence-based recommendations for stakeholders. To help users understand the data, we will thoroughly describe it and include sources, data dictionaries, and the methodology used to construct the integrated warehouse.

We hope that the NJ-SHO Center for Integrated Data website will be used by a wide variety of people, from state officials to local council persons, from community organizers to the general public. We encourage anyone interested in traffic safety in NJ (and elsewhere in the US) to explore our website and dashboard when they become available. We hope that opening up access to our data will support on-the-ground efforts to implement and evaluate traffic safety countermeasures. We also welcome discussions with potential partners and collaborators on new ways to examine these data for future research projects.

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