Don’t get me wrong, this map is a great first start! While it is painful to understand that this map is a manifestation of lost lives and property, maps like this enable to turn software and data into dialogue to improve OUR STREETS.

BetaNYC’s testimony to the NYC City Council is exemplified in this map.

FIRST, if you use this map as a baseline to NYC’s crash map, it wouldn’t be possible to get down to the actual incident.

SECOND, you wouldn’t have the ability to see where on the road crashes happen.

THIRD, this data isn’t provided in realtime and must be refreshed by hand.

FOURTH, the data is “licensed” and is not available to third parties nor other developers to combine into more useful systems.

Kudos to the developers and liberators. You’ve given NYC a base point for discussion. 

About the map.

The Swiss Crashmap is based on the accident register of the federal office for roads ASTRA. It contains all the 108’640 accidents registered by the police in 2011 and 2012 involving at least one vehicle. The data was collected by the police on the ground and anonymized by ASTRA.
The overview-mode only shows the black spots. By zooming in to street-level, the details of the different accidents are revealed. The causes of the accidents are deactivated in the detail-mode for legal reasons.

The map was created by the Swiss newspapers SonntagsZeitung, Tages-Anzeiger and Le Matin Dimanche in collaboration with the Resarch Centre Sotomo of the University of Zurich. The data is licensed by ASTRA and may not be used by third parties without agreement

On the release of NYPD’s Crash Data and NYC BigApps’ Vision Zero Challenge

“This is amazing, and more than what we were expecting — the geocoding and integration with the data portal are unexpected and *extremely* pleasant surprises.”

“This dataset allows us to stop second guessing NYPD’s monthly reports, and focus on improving this dataset’s capability. Now, we must push for better collision reporting at the scene.”

Since 2011, members of NYC’s civic hacking community have asked the NYPD to release accurate and machine readable crash data. Today, we commend the NYPD for placing detailed and machine readable crash data online. Additionally, we are ecstatic that Mayor de Blasio shares our vision. We are excited to see the Mayor challenge NYC’s BigApps participants to build tools to achieve Vision Zero.


Why is this important?

In this dataset, we have machine readability, date and time, a latitude and longitude, and collisions that occurred “off street” — for example in a parking lot. Additionally, this data goes back to July 2012.  These are all great first steps.

By placing NYC’s crash data online, all community members - civic hackers included - can focus on building platforms and tools to make safer streets. Knowing when and where crashes happen allows the community to look at its actions and see how the streetscape can be improved.

As crashes are preventable, we see this dataset as a fundamental underpinning to make safe streets for all.


How can this data be improved?

  • The column names seem slightly confused — there are “Number of Persons killed/injured” columns, but no “Number of Passengers killed/injured”.  The other six killed/injured columns (“Pedestrians”, “Cyclists”, and “Motorists”) are as expected.  Without doing a drill down of the data, it’s hard to tell if this is a transposition of “Passenger” data to “Person”, or if for some reason we lost the “Number of Passengers killed/injured” columns and gained a redundant summary column.

  • This dataset is missing the total number of vehicles involved and which contributing factor applies to which vehicle.

  • July 2012 seems a kind of arbitrary cut-off point, considering the old releases were archived back to August 2011.

  • It is awesome that the NYPD is geocoding these records, but the root of the data is still the intersection. This causes the loss of incident clarity. We continue to ask the NYPD to start providing more detailed location data.

  • Public safety feeds are only good when they are updated frequently. How often will this be updated? This has yet to be determined.

This statement is signed by:

* Noel Hidalgo & John Krauss

Links to previous testimonies and statements.

Noel Hidalgo

* 2011 -

* 2013 -

* 2013 -

* 2014 -

* 2014 -


John Krauss

* 2013 -

* 2014 -


Nathan Storey

* 2014 -