CAMBRIDGE, MA—The Road to Zero Coalition, managed by the National Safety Council, selected Draper as a recipient of a Safe System Innovation Grant for a pilot program set to kick off in July in parts of Cambridge and Somerville, Massachusetts.
Draper’s grant is among seven awarded this year by the National Safety Council under the Road to Zero initiative. Grants are awarded to organizations that demonstrate an innovative approach to make roadways safer and eliminate preventable roadway deaths.
“With as many as 40,000 people killed each year in motor vehicle crashes, now is the time for bold and innovative action,” said Nick Smith, interim president and CEO of the National Safety Council. “Once again, the selection panel had an impressive pool of applicants, but this year’s winners stood out because of their logic-based, proven strategies. We look forward to watching their progress on our shared journey to zero roadway deaths.”
To qualify for a Safe System Innovation Grant, an organization must clearly explain how its program will improve safety on the roadways, set a timeframe for the reduction, outline how the program will be evaluated and detail how the organization intends to reach its target audience, among other elements.
In March, Draper announced it is leading a partnership with Miovision—a smart intersection technology provider—and the cities of Cambridge and Somerville to design and pilot a program to improve traffic safety for pedestrians. The pilot will take place in two hubs along the critical Prospect Street corridor that links the two cities: Central Square in Cambridge and Union Square in Somerville at the location of the upcoming Green Line extension. Both cities are committed to Vision Zero, an initiative to eliminate traffic fatalities and serious injuries.
“The intended outcome will be a first-of-its-kind capability to inform cities trying to design future intersections for safety and drastically reduce the time to make a safety intervention,” said Sheila Hemami, director of strategic technical opportunities at Draper.
Peter Miraglia, project lead for Draper, added, “this data-driven approach will identify high-risk occurrences with pedestrians so that we can more rapidly uncover patterns that have the potential for collisions. Video analytics, machine learning and artificial intelligence, combined with expert knowledge, make our solution possible with robust privacy and data security safeguards in place. Our goal is to transform how we approach road safety, from post-incident assessment to real-time observation, so that we can best serve an increasingly diverse and sustainable pool of urban road users.”
The Road to Zero initiative was launched in October 2016 as a joint effort between the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the Federal Highway Administration, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and the National Safety Council. The goal is to eliminate roadway deaths by 2050. The Department of Transportation committed $1 million annually from 2017 to 2019 and an additional $500,000 in 2018 to fund Safe System Innovation Grants, and the National Safety Council is managing the grant process.