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Bed-Stuy A Magnet for Accidents, New 'Crash Map' Says

New "heat map" plots troublesome intersections in New York City.

Bed-Stuy roads have seen a flurry of injury-causing accidents the last two years.
Bed-Stuy roads have seen a flurry of injury-causing accidents the last two years.
This post was written by Megan Reisz

Looking to avoid traffic accidents driving in Brooklyn? You might start by avoiding Bed-Stuy.

According to a new auto-accident heat map put together by a local resident, accidents with injuries have cut a swath through intersections in the neighborhood for the last two years. 

In particular, intersections along Broadway, Jefferson Avenue and Hancock Street have been rampant, with more than 20 injuries taking place in those areas since August of 2011. 

Created by freelance web developer John Krauss, NYC Crashmapper pinpoints locations where collisions and collisions with injuries have occurred using NYPD traffic crash data. The map also points out where pedestrians, cyclists, passengers and motorists have been injured.

According to the heatmap, which shows the location of collisions based on severity, lower and midtown Manhattan has a high rate of collisions with injuries – although Cobble Hill, Prospect Heights, Ditmas Park and Bed-Stuy have their own trouble areas as well. 

“I made the map because it was nearly impossible to use the collision data as the NYPD was publishing it, both for advocates and regular people,” Krauss said. “The map is useful for advocates to demonstrate the need for safety improvements at specific intersections, for government and electeds to analyze the effects of changes they’ve made to street design (and where changes would be helpful), and for ordinary people to see possibly dangerous locations.”

Crashmapper uses data going back as far as August 2011. In order to format the NYPD’s monthly files for the map, Krauss parses, geocodes and re-processes the data, which until recently was only published in PDF format. 

“I’ve done heat maps and time-sliding maps before, but it was a fun challenge to load up and visualize over 30K intersections over a significant period of time,” Krauss said. “It took a few weeks of on-and-off again work.”

Krauss has other features planned for the map including visualization of vehicle types involved and contributing factors to accidents, such as cell phone use.

Since the NYPD has started keeping their own archive and publishing data in Excel sheets, Krauss has published the clean, geocoded files for others to use.

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