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Marin Co. gets $63k grant to track & analyze traffic accidents

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  • 3/10 Marin IJ
    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
    Message 1 of 1 , Mar 10, 2008
      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
      areas.

      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
      safer."

      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
      new system.

      "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@...
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