Report numberRA-MOW-2010-004
TitleThe use of Geographic Information Systems in road safety.
SubtitleThe development of a visualized database: Part I.
AuthorsFredriek Van Malderen
Cathy Macharis
Published byPolicy Research Centre for Mobility and Public Works, track Traffic Safety 2007-2011
Number of pages41
Document languageDutch
Partner(s)Vrije Universiteit Brussel
Work packageOther: Reference database for research into traffic safety in Flanders

The availability of accurate traffic data is necessary to monitor and analyse road safety policy correctly. Without this data no policy relevant research can be executed. In Flanders, there are already several public and private institutes engaged to collect relevant traffic data. The databases, however, are spread across several different agencies. This leads to problems of data collection. There is thus need for a reference database for road safety research in Flanders. By developing this database relevant traffic data on different domains will be accessible for researchers. This will facilitate the investigation of road safety. In addition, the integration of different databases gives a more complete picture of road safety in Flanders. The database will only aggregate the data, but will not develop new data. It will only be working with existing, reliable and structured databases which were collected by governments, professional groups, private companies and researchers.


This report describes the first step of the development of the reference database which will be visualized by a Geographic Information System (GIS). GIS is a flexible tool which make it possible to store, edit, retrieve, analyze and visualize data. A major advantage of GIS is that both spatial and non-spatial data can be stored in this system. It is also possible to link non-spatial data with specific locations. This system is very useful for managing traffic data, since traffic data is very diverse in nature (accident data, road features, traffic counts, etc.).


Besides the importance of GIS, this report describes what information should be included in the reference database. Some applications of GIS in the context of road safety are discussed in the paper. The methodology of the pilot database is then presented. The reference database will be used as input for the Road Accident Analyzer. This tool is designed to monitor the accident risks on the road segments of the Flemish motorways and important secondary ways. Furthermore, this tool will perform in-depth analyses of road accidents. This will give the researcher more insight in the dominant accident causes at a specific location and more effective and efficient road safety measures can be implemented.

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The Policy Research Centre for Traffic Safety carries out policy relevant scientific research under the authority of the Flemish Government. The Centre is the result of a

cooperation between Hasselt University, KU Leuven and VITO, the Flemish Institute for Technological Research.


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