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Using AI and Google Street View to Improve Road Safety

Dr. Quynh Nguyen, an epidemiologist and statistician at the University of Maryland School of Public Health, uses Google Street View and AI tools to study environmental factors affecting car, cyclist, and pedestrian-related collisions. In a study published in the British Medical Journal of Injury Prevention, Nguyen and her team analyzed road features nationwide, discovering that elements like greenery, streetlights, single-lane roads, and sidewalks significantly reduce fatal car crashes.

Key findings include:

  • Sidewalks reduce traffic accidents by 70%.
  • Single-lane roads in rural areas reduce accidents by 50%.
  • Streetlights and stop signs improve safety for pedestrians and cyclists.
  • Road construction increases collision risks.

The researchers hope their findings will influence transport and infrastructure policy to enhance road safety. Nguyen emphasizes the potential of data science and AI to address public health issues, suggesting further research on built environment indicators in the U.S. and abroad. This study was supported by the National Library of Medicine and the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities.

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