Detailed Justification for BTS Safety Data and Analysis Program (SDAP) 

Detailed Justification for BTS Safety Data and Analysis Program (SDAP)

What Do I Need To Know Before Reading This Justification?

The Safety Data and Analysis Program is designed to centralize, standardize and address gaps in safety data across all modes in support of the USDOT Safety Council. The safety data will allow the Safety Council to develop a formal process for multi-modal data sharing and adopt a data-driven approach to identify, analyze, evaluate, and potentially predict systemic problems and create improvements across modes and sectors.


Text Version

Synthesis, collection, processing and analysis of multimodal transportation safety data.

  • This is a new collaborative initiative to address the synthesis, collection, processing and analysis of multimodal transportation safety data.
  • Safety is USDOT's highest priority.

What Is The Request And What Will We Get For The Funds?

FY 2012 Transportation Safety Data Program
Budget Request

Program Activity FY 2010 Actual FY 2012 Request ChangeFY 2010-2012
Safety Data Program 0 3,049 3,049
TOTAL1 0 $3,049 $3,049

1 The total funding includes salaries and administrative expenses and contract program.

Key Actions:

  • Coordinate with other modal administrations to create a collaborative portal, available to a broad range of stakeholders and the public, for accessing, synthesizing and analyzing safety data across the USDOT, including precursor (near-miss) and incident/accident safety information;
  • Integrate multimodal Intelligent Transportation System (ITS) deployment data with safety data;
  • Coordinate and expand the collection of multimodal transportation exposure data to improve estimation of safety risk rates and facilitate risk analysis across modes (with a focus on special sub-populations, such as motorcyclists, pedestrians and bicyclists);
  • Develop and apply new measures of safety risk exposure in coordination with the other modal administrations to better characterize and communicate risk;
  • Coordinate collection and analysis of occupational safety and health data pertinent to the analysis of vehicle operator and safety performance, including actual video of drivers under various real life conditions;
  • Develop advanced statistical methodology for emerging areas of study, such as naturalistic driving studies in USDOT;
  • Provide technical support to the modal administrations in the design and implementation of surveillance data systems, data standardization, and integration of safety data with GIS standards;
  • Provide support to the modal administrations in the areas of study design, study protocol development, data collection and analysis of transportation safety studies.

Key Outputs:

  • Development of data clearinghouse to support the analysis of multimodal USDOT safety data; inventory and synthesis of safety data, new safety risk exposure measures across the modal administrations. The clearinghouse will have a group of expert staff to support the program.
  • Technical support to improve data collection and analysis; document critical multimodal data gaps for USDOT, state DOTs, the academic and research communities, and other transportation stakeholders.

Key Outcomes:

  • Improved safety program assessments and to support more efficient USDOT safety investments.
  • A focused effort to reducing injuries and the approximately 34,000 annual transportation-related fatalities by improving access to safety data, including information on near-miss (precursor) data.

What Is This Program?

The Safety Data and Analysis Program (SDAP) is a new initiative in FY 2012 to enable BTS to effectively integrate safety data across modes and address gaps in existing USDOT data programs. Improving safety throughout the transportation sector is USDOT's highest priority. To achieve this goal, Secretary LaHood has created a USDOT Safety Council to work collaboratively to address safety problems by leveraging resources, sharing experience, expertise and best practices. The Safety Council's strategy is to adopt a data-driven approach to identify, analyze, evaluate, and potentially predict systemic problems and create improvements across modes and sectors.

Partners: FHWA, NHTSA, FMCSA, FRA, MARAD, PHMSA, FTA, FAA, USDOT Safety Council, safety advocates and transportation industry.

Description: The SDAP addresses multimodal data issues and the DOT strategic goal of improving safety through accurate and timely potential incident and exposure data and analyses. This program augments USDOT's existing data collection and data analysis efforts, providing a portal for integrated data for research and decision making by critical stakeholders.

Why Is This Particular Program Necessary?

The SDAP will provide improved multimodal safety data and analysis through increased collaboration across modal administrations. The centralized data portal will provide standardized access to a wide array of data sources, and will identify and address gaps in USDOT data programs and identify high concentrations of transportation safety risk. Transportation risk is highly concentrated in certain sub-populations and occurs under certain conditions; e.g., in aviation on takeoffs and landings, especially at night; and in motor vehicle travel, especially with higher risk drivers.

The transportation safety data collected, processed, maintained, and disseminated by the different USDOT modal administrations lack uniformity and comparability in terminology and reporting formats (e.g., different injury reporting criteria), which may limit system-wide risk assessments and multimodal data analysis. In addition, there are gaps in existing data, such as a lack of complete information on operator fatigue and its impact on safety performance.

Without the requested funding, BTS will not be able to provide a multi-modal data portal and set of cross-cutting analysis capabilities in support of the USDOT's highest priority: safety. There would continue to be a significant number of unfilled gaps in safety data across the modes, and safety data would remain scattered among the modal administrations as opposed to being accessible through a centralized portal.

How Do You Know the Program Works?

The likelihood of success for the requested program will be indicated by several factors:

Effectiveness: As an example, the preliminary results from the current confidential close-calls reporting system for rail has indicated that close-calls reporting systems are needed across modes to support safety initiatives.

Research: An NTSB report has recommended that BTS develop better risk exposure data: in reviewing BTS efforts to establish data quality standards, identify information gaps, and ensure compatibility between DOT safety data systems, the Safety Board recognizes a number of important BTS accomplishments. BTS has led safety data improvement efforts in recent years, and the Safety Board commends the DOT's efforts in this area.

Efficient: BTS, as a designated federal statistical agency, has authority to collect and protect confidential information. BTS is organized to collect and analyze cross-modal safety data.

Why Do We Want/Need To Fund The Program At The Requested Level?

  • The requested level of funding is needed to:
  • Develop specifications for a safety data portal to serve DOT and other transportation safety communities;
  • Develop data harmonization processes for cross-walking of various modal data sources to facilitate development of exposure measures;
  • Establish and maintain analytic expertise for safety risk measurement and analysis, collection and analysis of naturalistic driving studies, and potential development and operation of close-calls reporting systems for other modes.