Hello and welcome to the first RoadSafe GIS blog entry. We hope to use this blog to discuss the finer points of RoadSafe GIS, collision data analysis, web mapping systems, cloud technology and other related topics. For a kickoff topic I wanted to talk about the origins of RoadSafe GIS and how our new service came to be.
I spent the past 7 years as the GIS Program Manager at the Safe Transportation Research and Education Center (SafeTREC) at UC Berkeley. One of the main projects I led there was the development of the Transportation Injury Mapping System (TIMS) that became a central location for collision data mapping and analysis tools in California.
The original impetus for TIMS came about as we learned about the inability of the public and other agencies to access and use collision data known as the Statewide Integrated Traffic Records System (SWITRS). The California Highway Patrol maintains SWITRS and at the time the only way to retrieve the data was by requesting a CD. Even after retrieving the data, however, a major barrier was the fact the data was not geocoded so it could not be mapped without the right software or expertise. Therefore, we requested funding from the California Office of Traffic Safety (OTS) and developed an extensive geocoding process and the web query and mapping tools that eventually became TIMS.
TIMS grew to over 4,000 users as we added several different tools to aid a variety of users in the traffic safety community. However, over time I learned that many local city/county agencies had very specific needs that TIMS could not adequately address. I began to devise a plan for a more focused product and service that local agencies could use as an alternative to other software solutions. And that brings us to RoadSafe GIS, which we will outline in my next post.