DDOT holds ‘hackathon’ in hopes to improve traffic safety

WASHINGTON — To advance the goal of reducing traffic fatalities in D.C., the District Department of Transportation gathered web developers and code writers in a “hackathon” to develop useful apps.

The city joined forces with OpenGov Hub, providing the hackers reams of data in hopes that they could use it to improve traffic safety.

“They’ve teamed up into small groups and they’re working through this data to hopefully come up with some applications and tools we can use to advance our traffic safety agenda,” says DDOT Director Leif Dormsjo.

The ultimate goal is to achieve Mayor Muriel Bowser’s Vision Zero plan — zero traffic fatalities and serious injuries by the year 2024.

About 100 people huddled over laptops analyzing and parsing data the hackers had access to, including more than 100,000 crashes and more than 17 million parking and moving violations. Hackers would aim to identify trends, correlations and locations.

“I personally want to make an app taking in the current user’s location and saying you are now in an area that has heavy traffic conditions, heavy crash conditions and you’ll want to make safer choices,” says Alexis Moody, a web developer participating in the “hackathon.”

DDOT has high hopes for the “hackathon.”

“With this data they can help pinpoint where we might have some particularly hazardous conditions on the roadway, they can help us understand where we might want to prioritize investment in traffic safety measures,” Dorsmjo says.

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