Published Monday, March 10, 2008, by the Marin Independent Journal
New system could reduce accidents in county
By Mark Prado
The county has received a state grant to make it easier to track
and analyze traffic accidents with computers, allowing engineers
to quickly identify crash hot spots.
The Marin County Department of Public Works got $63,000 from the
state Office of Traffic Safety for the electronic, automated,
collision analysis system.
Each year the county logs more than 1,000 accidents in unincorporated
Until now, traffic engineers who looked at problems involving
420 miles of unincorporated roads recorded accidents by hand, and
research into trends was done manually.
"We look for patterns and causes, but now we do it all by hand,"
said Farhad Mansourian, the county's public works chief. "Now, we
will do that same work, but much more efficiently with computers."
The system will allow staff to search for accident parameters: speed,
weather conditions, directions or whatever traffic engineers are
looking for. Then, the computer program can bring up a county map
showing where those types of accidents are occurring.
"That can tell us if we need to get rid of an obstruction or whether
to make stop signs larger," Mansourian said. "It will give us traffic
accident details sooner, which will help us make traffic conditions
Marin has had comparatively high rates of certain types of accidents.
State figures from 2006 indicate that among 58 counties in the
state, Marin ranked high for bike accidents and accidents involving
pedestrians 65 and older. It's possible traffic engineers may be
able to figure out a remedy to those types of accidents with the
"This will bring Marin County fully into the information age," said
Chris Cochran, spokesman for the state Office of Traffic Safety.
"You can do all sorts of searches to see under what circumstances
collisions are happening over a wide-ranging area.
"You can see the trouble spots and take corrective action."
Contact Mark Prado via e-mail at mprado@...