"Better safety data will save lives throughout our transportation system,” Rep. Robert A. Borski, the keynote speaker at the Bureau of Transportation Statistics’ Safety in Numbers Conference, told more than 100 members of the transportation community.
“Transportation safety requires good research, and good research requires accurate and timely data collection and analysis,” said Borski, the Ranking Member of the House Highways and Transit Subcommittee. “Improving highway safety is, by far, our greatest opportunity to save lives in transportation.”
He noted that almost 42,000 people died on the nation's roads in 2000—about 95 percent of all transportation fatalities.
The January conference was another step by BTS toward improving transportation safety data. The session was designed to allow participants to review progress on 10 intermodal safety data projects and to offer feedback.
“Working together, we must improve the quality of safety data so planners and decisionmakers can take the appropriate counter measures. Informed decisions will lead to fewer deaths and injuries,” BTS Director Dr. Ashish Sen said.
The Safety in Numbers projects began in 1999 when stakeholders at the National Transportation Safety Conference identified better data collection and reporting as a top priority to improve transportation safety.
BTS hosted four interactive workshops within each transportation mode to gather insights on current data limitations that affect transportation safety. The workshops culminated in the April 2000 Intermodal Safety Data Conference.
BTS prepared a Safety Data Action Plan—Safety in Numbers: Using Statistics to Make the Transportation System Safer—in response to the workshops and conference. The plan contains a set of recommended actions on key safety-related issues designed to improve the quality of safety data programs throughout DOT.
BTS hosted a retreat, in May 2001, for stakeholders to begin implementing research projects identified in the Safety Data Action Plan.