Tuesday, February 4, 2020

Washington College GIS Mentioned in Police Chief Magazine

Every day our analysts and student interns work hard at creating useful products for our customers in hope to make a difference in traffic safety through Geographic Information Systems (GIS). It is not every day, though, that we get mentioned in an international online publication for our hard work, but one of our products was mentioned in the July issue of the Police Chief Magazine.

This issue mentioned a product we created for the Maryland Highway Safety Office (MHSO) and Maryland State Police (MSP); the 40 on 40 initiative. The MHSO team at the Washington College GIS Program, comprised of Sean Lynn, Michael McGahee, Alicia Shipley, and Dana Case, along with their student interns, worked on assisting MHSO’s 40 on 40 initiative through GIS mapping and analysis. This was a high-visibility education and enforcement (HVEE) effort to reduce alcohol-related driving during the Super Bowl on 70 miles of US Route 40 in Maryland.

Our analysts created an in depth report of previous crashes that occurred along that stretch during prior Super Bowl weekends in 2011, 2012, 2013, and 2014. The team analyzed four years’ worth of data to show which areas of US Route 40 had the highest number of alcohol-related crashes, crashes by severity, highest crash counts on individual days, months, and times, and the total number of alcohol-related crashes that occurred during past Super Bowl weekends. There were 11 police agencies, including around 100 officers, that were involved in this initiative across Howard, Baltimore, Harford, and Cecil counties. Our team met up these agencies before the kick off to provide them the detailed report of their findings.

Previously mentioned in the Baltimore Sun, this effort proved to be a huge success. The use of GIS mapping to show law enforcement exactly where previous alcohol-related crashes are occurring along US Route 40 helped them to set up their DUI checkpoints along the roadway using a data driven approach.

The Police Chief Magazine stated the findings of this initiative: “Overall, during the Super Bowl weekend campaign, participating officers issued 641 citations, 604 warnings, and 204 safety equipment repair orders. There were 64 impaired driving arrests and 20 criminal arrests. About 670,000 motorists were exposed to impaired driving message boards, with another 900,000 impressions from the four billboards. Traffic safety organization Toward Zero Deaths Maryland helped disseminate messages via social media, reaching 12,000 followers and garnering 45,000 views. Maryland Highway Safety Office officials reported that the local cab company reported a 50 percent increase over average business on the first Friday of the campaign” (Wentlandt).

Brad Wentlandt, “High-Visibility Education and Enforcement (HVEE) Pilot Project,” The Police Chief 83 (July 2016): 26–31.
Image from Police Chief Magazine


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