Tags : transportation

National database used to report on hit-and-runs in Colorado

9News map of hit-and-run injuries 
Click here to view

It all started with an observation from 9News Denver investigative reporter Chris Vanderveen: Doesn’t it seem like there have been a lot of hit-and-runs in Colorado?

That started a year-long, joint investigation by 9News and Rocky Mountain PBS I-News that included analyzing electronic databases, getting police records from dozens of jurisdictions and poring over court documents.

We started with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s Fatality Analysis Reporting System database to find out how many hit-and-run fatalities had taken place in Colorado during the most recent five-year period with ...

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Assessing and mapping dangerous intersections, traffic fatalities in your community

A still image from the Orlando Sentinel's Blood in the Streets animated video.

By Scott Powers and Arelis Hernandez, the Orlando Sentinel

This past winter, after an Orlando Sentinel editor almost ran down a pedestrian for the umpteenth time – a moment which occurred about the same time that our breaking-news desk had to write its umpteenth story about a pedestrian who was, in fact, tragically run down – the realization finally sank in: Pedestrians and drivers are a really bad mix in Central Florida.

We had, of course, seen and written about numerous reports that came out over the years ...

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How to use boating accident data in an investigation

FCIR created this map of boating accidents. Click the map for the interactive version.

Last January, Florida Center for Investigative Reporting and NBC 6 in Miami announced a partnership to produce more local in-depth investigations.

Even before our partnership was announced, we had already decided during a brainstorm session that boating fatalities would be one of such stories.

We knew that Florida have continuously held the dubious first place for boating fatalities and accidents in the nation. But we wanted to dig up deeper and find out why.

I had done some preliminary work prior to our meeting and looked ...

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Governments battle to maintain bridges

By Ryan McGeeney, The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

When Washington County employees began tearing down the Miley Wagon Bridge near Baldwin earlier this year, there was no doubt about how the county was going to stay within its estimated $400,000 budget for the project: in-house manpower and resourceful purchasing.

A quarter of the road bridges in Arkansas are obsolete and, of those, a third are in serious need of repair.

This story was published with help from IRE's Total Newsroom Training

Behind the Story: Simple math reveals errors in lucrative speed camera system

This car received a ticket from a Baltimore area camera while stopped at a red light. This case was one of the errors uncovered in the Baltimore Sun's series on red light cameras.

The Baltimore Sun’s investigation of red light cameras over the past year prompted changes to the system a city task force to study the cameras, a lawsuit and draft legislation. Though officials have refused to credit the paper’s reporting for the policy changes, the Sun’s findings exposed wrongful tickets -- including idling vehicles cited for moving violations -- that the city is now working to ...

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Data show activity at local airports

Airport numbers and trends seem to be a hot topic everywhere because flight activity is so directly tied to the economy and local businesses and is a concern for people who just want to fly for pleasure.

Our airport in Boise often gives us information and is very easy to work with. However, no reports broke down the actual numbers at the airport by flights and passengers.  Once I dug through some easily available federal data, I found the airport wasn’t performing at pre-recession numbers like many thought or expected, but was doing worse than than 10 years ago ...

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Behind the Story: Post-Dispatch mapping finds 'hot spots' of pedestrian railroad deaths

Photo courtesy of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

Photo courtesy of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

In December, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch released Death on the Rails, a special report on the surprising number of pedestrian deaths that have occurred on railways.  Reporter Todd Frankel explains how he cross-referenced databases and resources to build his own map of the accidents, which he used to further investigate ”hot spots” of pedestrian death and injury.

You began investigating for the series after a pedestrian fatality in June.  What inspired you to look into these rail-related accidents?  Did you expect to discover so many when ...

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Behind the Story: The San Diego port, altered public records and interactive presentation

San Diego’s Tenth Avenue Marine Terminal is home to a rare deep water port that’s valuable to the maritime industry, but for the last ten years, developers have argued that the area should be transformed into an entertainment district.  When two businessmen responsible for running the U-T San Diego began promoting the stadium, Brooke Williams of iNewSource.org along with reporters from KPBS San Diego decided to investigate.  Their series “Port Authority:  What’s a Port Worth, Anyway?” compiles reporting, documents, interactive pieces, and video to show the plans and potential effects the changes would have on San ...

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First Venture: Pivot tables help show aiport loss claims

Somewhere in the tilting tower of boxes that passes for my personal archive are the files from my first attempt at data journalism—an investigative piece about the Minneapolis Police Department’s Sex Crimes Unit. You’ll find no CDs with database files in there. No printed spreadsheets either; just a small stack of hand-drawn grids with case counts, closure stats, and other vitals. I don’t even know if I had Microsoft Excel installed on my work computer at the time. It never occurred to me that there might be a better way to store and process the information ...

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Dodge the potholes in truck accident data

The new truck accident data is available from the IRE and NICAR Database Library and, as with any data set, you need to learn the pitfalls of the data. Here are some tips for dealing with the problems in truck accident data and ways you can bulletproof your analysis that I learned working on a 2006 truck safety project at The Dallas Morning News:
  • Compare state data to federal data. None of these will match up perfectly because of reporting and definitions, but they should not be drastically different. Problems at the local and state level will rise to the ...
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