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Mapping Motor Vehicle Collisions in New York City

Todd W. SchneiderInteractive heatmap of 1.4 million collisions highlights dangerous areas for motorists, cyclists, and pedestrians

“The New York Police Department provides data for every motor vehicle collision in NYC since July 2012. Each record includes location coordinates and other metadata, most notably the number of injuries and fatalities, segmented further by motorists, cyclists, and pedestrians. I wrote some code to process the raw data, and built an interactive heatmap of 1.4 million collisions between July 2012 and January 2019. By default the color intensity represents the number of collisions in each area, but you can customize it to reflect injuries or fatalities…

The map shows the areas with the most injuries and fatalities, but I’m hesitant to use the phrase “most dangerous”, as the collisions data does not tell us how many motorists, cyclists, and pedestrians traveled through each area without injury. For example, more pedestrians are injured by motor vehicles in Times Square than in any other area, but Times Square probably has the most total pedestrians, so it’s possible that “pedestrian injuries per mile walked” is higher elsewhere. It might make for interesting further analysis to estimate total vehicle, bicycle, and pedestrian travel in each area, then attempt to calculate the areas with the highest probability of injury or fatality per unit of distance traveled…”

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