UWI maps Jamaica's traffic 'black spots'


DOWNTOWN Kingston recorded the largest number of crashes since 2000, but Central Village in St Catherine is the community with the most fatal crashes in the island.

Director of the Mona GeoInformatics Institute at The University of the West Indies (UWI), Dr Parris Lyew-Ayee, made this disclosure while releasing data about the Institute's latest project on Geographical Information Systems mapping and road safety planning.

Dr Lyew-Ayee was addressing the National Road Safety Symposium, which was held at the Mona Visitors Lodge at the UWI, last week.

"The community that has had the most fatal crashes is Central Village, followed by Williamsfield, Manchester; Little London, Westmoreland; Caymanas, St Catherine; and Duncans, Trelawny," Dr Lyew-Ayee revealed.

Of the 829 communities in Jamaica, he said that 87.21 per cent had at least one crash; and 394 communities had at least one traffic fatality since 2000.

Dr Lyew-Ayee said the Institute has so far mapped 37,769 of the more than 70,000 crashes since 2000. Counting only total crashes, Central downtown Kingston is the most dangerous area, followed by Half-Way-Tree, Mandeville and then Constant Spring.

"We are mapping every single crash and this will definitively allow us to take a look at the real pattern of the crashes across the island," he told the symposium. "We are going for full comprehensiveness."

"Analysts are faced with several challenges in this work, just one of which is the incorrect spelling of road names," said Dr Lyew-Ayee.

"Those kinds of inaccuracies slow down the mapping process."

Dr Lyew-Ayee added that Mona GeoInformatics would conduct even more in-depth analysis of the crashes in the future. This will include the frequency of crashes in individual communities, cross-referenced with data on traffic and road conditions from the National Works Agency.

He said the Institute would also participate in crash reconstruction for insurance and police purposes; and develop the capacity to predict when crashes are most likely to occur.

"If we assess every single crash since 2000, we can predict which areas are more likely to have a crash tomorrow or next year," Dr Lyew-Ayee argued. "This would allow preventive strategies to be developed, based on rigorous modelling processes."

The National Road Safety Symposium was organised by the National Road Safety Council of Jamaica in collaboration with the Jamaica Automobile Association, The University of the West Indies, and the Pan American Health Organisation, to support policies geared to reduce road fatalities and improve safety.

Read more: http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/results/UWI-maps-Jamaica-s-traffic--black-spots-_8793152