Friday, 3 February 2017

Road Safety data reports - Part 1

The road safety data reports were multi page collections of charts and tables which were first attempted around 1986 (James Kings recollection)

“If my memory serves me right I believe the earliest reports were generated some time around 1986 as a result of the early crash reduction studies.
They were written in “Word” and may have been printed on dot matrix printers! There were also attempts to automatically insert the charts directly into the Word documents in appropriate places but the technology was not helpful and the files became very large.” 

The data reports were always considered a starting place for further investigation and were not intended for a general audience. 

As far as I can gather for the reports that were published the writer of the script which interrogated the crash data base was Zarko Andjic. He was in the Christchurch office from 1995 to 1999.

At that time the LTSA was using Quattro Pro and Word Perfect and Zarko’s process of dropping data into Quattro Pro (which in itself was good package as far as I can remember) and then linking to Word Perfect was especially unwieldy requiring multiple data extracts and much gnashing of teeth.

The whole process was managed by the Road Safety Report Expert Group which in September of 1999 included Wayne Osmers , David Croft, Yvonne Warnaar, Alan Dixon, Stuart Badger and Paul Phipps. 

After Zarko left the LTSA Yvonne Warnaar in Christchurch had the task of making the whole process more efficient and “press of a button” – as she describes it.
There was also the matter of converting the whole thing to Excel and MS Word as the LTSA had ditched Borland as its software provider. When Yvonne had finished all the data was held in a single extraction in what was known as the “master data” within one Excel file.

The data reports continued to be used as the source of road safety trend data along side the Road Safety Briefing Notes for more than a decade with James King producing the last full national set in 2010 (as in the example below) under the Performance Information banner through the Wellington Office handing the process by himself.
I recently read the 36 page “Standard Operating Procedure”  desk file outlining the production process and was overwhelmed with that sense of foreboding I had every time the task was carried out – while getting the data might have been called “push of a button” production was far from that. In the Auckland Office David Croft shouldered most of that burden up until the merger of LTSA with Transfund.

The final report (running to around 100 pages) had the following content which was typical of those that preceded. 

Introduction and general information

Crash rates and costs 


Crash counts 

Crash type statistics

Crash factor statistics

Environmental statistics 

Date and time statistics 

Council road statistics 

Crash location statistics 

Grouping of crash types

Groupings of contributing factors

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