Numetric, a Utah-based traffic safety analytics company, has new software to help departments of transportation plan smarter solutions to road safety issues.
Last month the company announced a pair of analytical tools, a safety suite and a design suite, with the potential to make asset and crash-report data more useful. A news release said the safety suite is for network screening, diagnosis and countermeasure selection, while the design suite is for economic appraisals and project prioritization.
Explaining the safety suite by example, Numetric Chief Executive Officer Nate Bowler said a DOT could analyze car-crash data to identify high-risk areas, see what the common causes for crashes were in those areas and use that information to choose the best fix, such as a median or rumble strips. A user could also work backward and cross-reference these variables, for example by identifying which stretches of road in the network have no rumble strips and which among those have the most cars veering off.
Once a DOT has diagnosed a problem, the design suite can make it easier for planners and engineers to estimate the potential cost and efficacy of different solutions on specific roads.
Both suites share data through Numetric’s traffic safety platform, and where data is inconsistent or missing, Numetric helps clean it up.
Bowler said the goal is for DOTs to choose the best road improvement projects for their limited resources, which is a difficult process for most states.
“We’ve made great progress over the last five or six years as a nation in terms of highway safety. What we’re recognizing now is, to maintain those continued gains, we have to be smarter about how we’re spending the money. The need for better analytic tools and higher-quality data to make those decisions is paramount,” he said. “Now you can learn where your worst-performing sections of road are.”
The safety suite also introduces Crash Reports, a program which, according to Vice President of Product Danny Anderson, expedites the process of fulfilling information requests.
“We have states who receive thousands of requests every year to fulfill FOIAs, planning committee requests and all sorts of requests about crash data. They have to have entire staff just for fulfilling these requests,” Anderson said. “Fulfilling these requests was taking days or weeks to do, and with the tools we’ve been able to provide, these requests are now being done in minutes.”
Founded in 2015, Numetric lists six clients — the states of Hawaii, Idaho, New Jersey, New York, South Carolina and Utah — and is in the solution-and-design phase with a dozen more.
Anderson said the closest competitors to Numetric’s new safety and design suites are regular business-intelligence tools, which tend to provide one-off solutions to specific departments and rely on the expertise of one employee or consultants. But those tools rarely interface with multiple departments that manage different sets of data.
“We’re providing it to the entire department of transportation so everybody can get in there, everybody can improve it and understand how the data works,” he said. “We can work across groups, which is where the competitors start breaking down.”
Bowler pointed out that the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials has a few tools of its own but isn’t a software company, and outside of that, data sets managed by different departments have been tough to work with in a single platform. He said the ability to do so could benefit agencies adjacent to DOT such as state police, DMV, departments of public safety or any other party concerned with traffic collisions.
“Numetric was founded by a former DOT employee who kind of lived this pain, so we were injected with some of this vision from our founding,” Bowler said. “Although this work is being done here and there, it’s a little bit rag-tag, one-off solutions, and we see an opportunity of offering multiple types of solutions off this data platform.”