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Waycare Reports 18% Drop in Crashes in Las Vegas Road Test

By slowing down drivers 2 miles per hour in strategic areas during high-risk times of day, the startup and its government partners found they could reduce highway crashes in Southern Nevada.

In Las Vegas, a combination of traffic data, police presence and road signs reduced highway crashes 18 percent, according to a new report.

The report, which covers a study period from October 2019 to December 2020, is the most robust proof-of-concept yet for the startup Waycare, which deals in transportation data and aims to help government reduce crashes.

And it all came from drivers slowing down an average of 2 miles per hour.

A new white paper details the program: A group of government agencies in the region — the state Department of Transportation, highway patrol and the regional transportation office — partnered with Waycare to identify stretches of highway at particularly high risk of crashes. Then they stationed police cars in those areas during the riskiest times and set up digital signs to tell drivers their speed was being monitored. Drivers slowed down an average of 2 miles per hour, from 62 to 60, and the number of crashes fell by an estimated 18 percent.

The paper validates findings from a previous, narrower study in 2018 where the partners found a 17 percent reduction in crashes. At the time, there were some factors complicating the results, including a massive construction project and national hockey championship.

The current report also has a complicating factor: COVID-19. During the pandemic, especially toward the beginning, traffic plummeted nationwide. So rather than comparing crash rates year-over-year, the paper compares crash rates along the same stretches of road when police cars were stationed there versus times when they weren’t.

Crash rates were also normalized to account for fluctuations in crash numbers across months.

Along with a reduction in speed and crashes, the paper also presented an interesting finding: When the cops were watching and the signs were on, drivers tended to drive at similar speeds, instead of the fastest cars going much faster than the slowest.

The study estimated that the reduction in crashes saved about $3 million in property damage and injuries.

Las Vegas was the first major partner for Waycare in the U.S., but since it started working in the region back in 2017, the startup has expanded. Toward the end of last year it launched a major initiative with the state of Ohio in the state’s capital region to centralize data and improve transportation, transit and safety.