UNC Highway Safety Research Center receives $5.8 million to expand national safety data resource

News Release

June 6 , 2006

CHAPEL HILL — The University of North Carolina Highway Safety Research Center (HSRC) has received $5.8 million to continue its operation of the Highway Safety Information System (HSIS), the nation’s only multi-state database incorporating both crash and non-crash safety data for use in the analysis of motor-vehicle crashes.

The contract, awarded over five years by the U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), will be used to maintain, improve and expand the current system.

“The HSIS is the only national database system that allows crash data – such as driver age or the severity of a crash – to be linked to other data sources such as traffic volume, roadway alignment or type of traffic control present,” said David Harkey, the project’s principal investigator and the Center’s interim director. “By making these connections, the system allows researchers to conduct studies and develop products for transportation officials to make informed roadway decisions based on sound analysis.”

The HSIS is used in support of the FHWA safety research program and is used in program and policy decisions at the national level. The HSIS is also used by analysts conducting research under the National Cooperative Highway Research Program, university researchers, policy makers and others involved in the study of highway safety.

The concept for HSIS was developed in 1987 under the direction of Dr. Forrest Council, former HSRC director and HSIS principal investigator.

“We wanted to develop a system, not just a database, that could be used to answer the most critical highway safety questions,” said Council.

The system was first brought online in 1990 with data from five states. Since that time, the database has been expanded to include data from nine states and two urban areas.

In 2001, the HSIS received top honors for Best Practices in Traffic Records at the National Safety Council’s International Traffic Records Forum.

The HSIS Web site is available at www.hsisinfo.org.

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UNC Highway Safety Research Center contact: Katy Jones, (919) 843-7007 or jones@hsrc.unc.edu

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