The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) has launched a contest that will award $350,000 in prize money to technology firms and safety stakeholders who come up with better ways to apply advanced analytics and technological innovations to crash statistics. The goal, according to Under Secretary for Policy Derek Kan: to “dramatically improve safety on our roads.”

The DOT’s Solving for Safety: Visualization Challenge is a national multistage competition for local government, data scientists, technologists, academia and safety experts to analyze risk on the surface transportation system through advanced data analytics and data visualizations.

“Recent innovations in data analytics and visualization tools give us the potential to understand risk at the system level, and to develop tools and discover insights that will lead to new, life-saving strategies that address injuries and fatalities on our roadways,’ said Kan. 

DOT is opening its different datasets- many of which are siloed, analyzed separately, and made available on just an annual basis- and asking data experts to develop tools that can be used to reduce risk.

Factors like the weather, road conditions, and time of day all play a role in risk- and targeted, sophisticated analysis will create, as Kan said, ‘clear, compelling data visualizations’, which can be used to mitigate crash risks.

Kan encouraged attendees at the Department’s Safety Data Forum to join the challenge and develop an analytical visualization tool that helps Solve for Safety.

The Challenge also invites companies and organizations to participate as Innovation Agents, a resource for Solvers. Innovation Agents are critical to the success of the Challenge by providing real world knowledge, guidance, insight, issues, data and recognition of the issue to non-transportation safety populations. A judging panel of cross-functional technical experts and senior level staff will select finalists and award prizes. Over the next six months, solvers will solve for safety and compete for part of the $350,000 prize purse.

The Solving for Safety Challenge is part of the Department’s Safety Data Initiative announced in January, which focuses on data integration, data visualizations, and predictive insights. New data analytics will allow DOT to synthesize traditional and new data sources, and data visualization will cultivate a system of insights and innovative technologies that change the way transportation safety is approached.

Click Here for more information on the Challenge.