DOT NHTSA RFI: Development of Educational Modules for NCSA Data and Data Query Tools

Notice ID 693JJ921R000021

“The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is assessing the need to improve the usability and accessibility of NHTSA crash data through the development of training materials and website design recommendations.  NHTSA customers range from people with little knowledge of crash data to expert statisticians who use NHTSA’s data for specific analysis.  NHTSA is seeking input to creating a set of online learning modules and website user interface enhancements to meet the diverse needs of the public, the press, State and Federal highway safety officials, and industry and academic researchers and improve their understanding of NHTSA data. To complete the assessment, NHTSA will evaluate all aspects of the current system and complete an evaluation of industry capability using this Request for Information (RFI) …”

NHTSA has collected crash data since the early 1970s to support its mission to reduce motor vehicle crashes, injuries, and deaths on our Nation’s highways.  NHTSA’s National Center for Statistics and Analysis (NCSA) provides a wide range of analytical and statistical support to NHTSA and the greater highway safety community.  NCSA collects, processes, and maintains crash data in multiple databases, and uses this data for research and analysis for policy and rulemaking development as well as to create motor vehicle traffic safety informational products for the public.  Part of NCSA’s mission is to provide easy public access to its data for multiple users and uses.  Users of NHTSA data range from other Federal and State agencies to universities, interest groups, industry, the news media, and the public.  Data users may be researchers with years of experience conducting complex analyses with raw NHTSA data, individuals seeking existing data reports, or people with no previous experience with NHTSA crash data looking for quick answers on specific topics.

NCSA has been assessing the NHTSA website dedicated to crash data sets and crash data tools for future enhancements, including educational modules to help improve the public understanding of NHTSA crash data by meeting the needs of all the different levels of users.  The NCSA Tools, Publications, and Data landing page, cdan.nhtsa.gov is the hub for accessing NHTSA crash data systems and products.  One significant challenge is to educate users on how to get the information they need from the website. NCSA’s Data Reporting and Information Division (DRID), responsible for answering the public’s questions about NCSA data, repeatedly responds to common requests for data that users could obtain from the website.  NCSA is also concerned that advocacy groups, the press, and researchers misuse NHTSA crash data because they do not understand the scope of the data or the nuances of a data element/attribute and make claims that the data cannot support.

NHTSA Crash Datasets and Existing Crash Data Tools include NCSA’s Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS), the Crash Report Sampling System (CRSS), the Crash Investigation Sampling System (CISS), and Special Crash Investigations (SCI), are used to provide the public with crash data resources through both direct queries as well as data products and services.

Datasets:

  1. FARS: The Fatality Analysis Reporting System, in operation since 1975, is a nationwide census providing NHTSA, Congress, and the American public yearly data regarding fatal injuries suffered in motor vehicle traffic crashes. To be included in FARS, a crash must involve a motor vehicle traveling on a trafficway customarily open to the public and result in the death of a person (occupant of a vehicle or a non-occupant) within 30 days of the crash.  NHTSA has a cooperative agreement with an agency in each State government to collect, code, and submit information in a standard format on fatal crashes.
  2. CRSS/GES: The Crash Reporting Sampling System is a sample of police-reported crashes involving all types of motor vehicle occupants, pedestrians, and cyclists, ranging from property-damage-only crashes to those that result in fatalities. CRSS is a replacement of the National Automotive Sampling System General Estimates System (NASS/GES).  NHTSA designed CRSS to replace GES (GES data remains available) to select a more efficient and flexible sample using updated traffic and demographic information and optimizing the sample to meet the data users’ needs.  CRSS is used to estimate the overall…”

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