Monday, July 28, 2008

Safe Roads on Google Maps

SafeRoadMaps
screen shot of saferoadmaps
Google Maps walking directions come with a warning that says, "Use caution when walking in unfamiliar areas." I am sure that the Google Maps team are working hard on various algorithms to determine the safety of different streets (my suggestion would be to combine a score from CriminalSearches and WalkScore).

What seems strange to me is that Google acknowledge that some streets are safer to walk down than others (even if they are unsure which ones) but don't warn that some roads are safer to drive on than others. Where is the warning to "drive safely on unfamiliar roads"? Where is the warning that "This road will kill"?

Of course Google Maps comes with an API so that the 'community' will fill in any gaps left by Google. Hence today we have the launch of SafeRoadMaps from the Center for Excellence in Rural Safety.

SafeRoadMaps overlays statistics from the Fatality Analysis Reporting System on Google Maps to give a visual representation of traffic safety across the USA. With SafeRoadMaps you can enter an address and view the roads that have the highest number of traffic fatalities in an area. You can also view dynamically generated maps that show how public policy has been implemented to improve transportation safety by region.

Fatalities are shown on the map with tags in the shape of an exclamation mark. You can get extra details on any fatality by clicking on a tag. The details tell you the nature of the accident, the sex and age of the victim and whether alcohol was involved in the accident.

What we need now is a feature to refine Google Maps driving directions to avoid traffic black spots.

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