The problem: The essence of data analysis is finding patterns and relationships. To the extent that our programs are guided by data analysis, people need easy access to a variety of data and the ability to link those data to reveal relationships. Right now, there are many safety-related data setslike vehicle and driver records, EMS records, police and medical reports, and inspectionsthat cannot be analyzed together easily. This constrains our ability to analyze data on a departmental basis, and it limits our ability to use information for developing more effective programs.
What we need: We need an easily accessible repository for transportation safety-related data, along with clear documentation so that the data are interpreted and used correctly. The ITDBcurrently under developmentcan provide such a repository with web-based access and a suite of analytical tools. It will include a data dictionary, as well as online documentation for the data/sources.
Benefits: The ITDB will expand and improve access to transportation data and the ability to analyze the data. It will provide "one-stop shopping" for transportation datafor researchers, state and local governments, industry, the general public, as well as DOT analysts and other federal agencies. By putting the data together in one place and providing easy links, it will highlight inconsistencies and gaps. As a result, it will also help to improve the quality, timeliness, and comparability of the data. Ultimately, better data and more analysis will support better program management and decision-making, making the system safer overall.