Report numberRA-2014-004
TitleA semantic data model for road safety indicators
AuthorsDiederik Tirry
Therese Steenberghen
Published byPolicy Research Centre for Traffic Safety 2012-2015
Number of pages67
Document languageDutch
Partner(s)Katholieke Universiteit Leuven
Work packageWP1: Data & Indicators
Road safety analysis has the reputation of being lengthy, costly and time-consuming. The same information such as accident data is often stored multiple times by different organizations using heterogeneous models and formats. Digital cooperation and harmonization between administrations or between administrations and external actors can make the analysis faster, easier and cheaper for all parties concerned, in particular when information between different policy areas and policy levels must be exchanged. However, in the course of the past years the available IT infrastructure and services became highly customized and thus fragmented, resulting in a variety of applications to realize public services and policy support. Exchanging data between such applications is not obvious and, despite initiatives such as the establishment of common databases and the application of common ICT-standards, it remains difficult and complex to share data among stakeholders belonging to different organizations.
Consequently, policy makers more than ever need one integrated monitoring platform to search for information and indicators that can support in all aspects of policy. In recent years several monitoring systems have been developed : A Road Safety monitor, the Spatial Monitor Flanders, the ‘Stadsmonitor’, the ‘Natuurindicatoren’, the ‘Milieu- en Natuurverkenning’, etc… This type of information platforms were a first step in centralizing, structuring and harmonizing policy-relevant indicators. The monitoring systems play an important role in the distribution of data and information to both internal and external stakeholders, yet they have thus far not proved to be capable in exchanging indicators. Semantic interoperability is an additional condition for exchanging digital information with unambiguous and shared meaning.
This report is a first step towards the development of a semantic exchange model for the Flemish Road Safety monitor. The main objective of this research is to promote the accessibility, quality and exchangeability of indicators. Using a semantic exchange model Road Safety indicators can be described and published in a structured and coherent manner. The development of an exchange model to support the monitoring of road safety traffic is based on a combination of a top-down strategic analysis with a bottom-up requirements analysis. In the top-down approach the available semantic framework is reviewed. International standards that are eligible for the exchange model are analyzed and compared in order to avoid the development of a new isolated specification. In the bottom-up approach a case study, i.e. the integration of accident data with bike comfort data, is set up to map and describe specific requirements for interoperability of road safety indicators. By comparing the outcome of the requirements analysis with the range of existing standards a new specification is designed and proposed as a reference model for describing geographic road safety indicators. In this study the focus is on the development of a metadata profile for indicators, in the future it will be examined to what extent a specification can be modelled at data level.
The designed specification is based on the existing vocabulary DCAT (European Commission, 2013a) and is therefore compatible with other data portals that use the same standard to describe 'Open Data'. Modifications and extensions were made to include the policy framework, spatial properties, provenance of data, and information on used measures and dimensions. A demo implementation of the specification is available on the Road Safety Monitor.
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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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