DC traffic safety investigation tool aims to fix problems, head off tragedy

A new traffic safety investigation dashboard will enable people in the District to report a potential problem, and stay apprised of the D.C. Department of Transportation’s investigation, research and safety solutions.

The interactive map provides a transparent method for a resident to point out a dangerous situation to DDOT and monitor the steps being taken to determine whether an ongoing problem exists, as well as whether infrastructure changes may be required to make the District’s streets safer.

While emergencies should be directed to 911, and urgent maintenance requests should go to 311 — as should reports of routine maintenance requests for existing signs, sidewalks and road markings — the Traffic Safety Investigation dashboard is intended to alert DDOT of potential safety problems that aren’t yet on their radar.

By calling 311 or visiting 311 online, a resident can submit a traffic safety investigation request.

For instance, seeing people hurrying to cross a street at a location without a marked crosswalk would be a situation to report on the dashboard. If residents see people waiting at a bus stop located too close to moving traffic, or drivers habitually going too fast near a school, those issues would be appropriate for the new dashboard, according to DDOT.

As part of its evaluation process, DDOT may request additional information from the person filing the safety investigation request. A tab labeled “Pending Resident Action” shows a map location of the reported problem, and indicates information required to take next steps in the investigation.

Another tab, “Pending DDOT Review,” indicates the agency has received all required information and is reviewing it, conducting site assessments, and determining whether more data collection is warranted.

A third tab is labeled “Pending Data Collection.” Extra data is needed when considering permanent physical changes to the roadway, such as signals at intersections, speed bumps, stop signs and other traffic calming measures.

If DDOT determines safety mitigation is needed, the agency will work with the community to identify the appropriate infrastructure change, indicated in a labeled “Traffic Safety Investigations: Pending Installation.”

DDOT estimates the entire process would generally take 130 days.

The dashboard is part of Mayor Muriel Bowser’s Vision Zero program, which aims to eliminate traffic fatalities and serious injuries on D.C. streets, through engineering, enforcement, education and data analysis.

Neal Augenstein

Neal Augenstein has been a reporter at WTOP since 1997. Through the years, Neal has covered many of the crimes and trials that have gripped the region. Neal's been pleased to receive awards over the years for hard news, feature reporting, use of sound and sports.

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