Windsor’s partnership with Ford will provide the city with data gathered from AI and machine learning to predict and prevent traffic accident hotspots.
The Ford Motor Company continues its commitment to developing smart cities across the globe. Last week, Ford was one of four car companies to announce a partnership with Samsung to enable a digital car key through Samsung’s Galaxy S21 series phones. Now, Windsor, Ontario, is the first Canadian city to partner with the Ford Safety insights Platform (FSIP), a business line within the Ford Motor Company.
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Ford’s Safety Insights tool, introduced in October 2020, is designed for cities to streamline potential budget-busting and time-consuming accessing and analyzing transportation data. The city’s data is integrated into Safety Insights, and the program will provide simulations and solutions based on industry-standard best practices. The platform saves cities money that could then be focused on improving street safety.
Combining data provided by the city, FSIP uses artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning as well as industry-standard algorithms to reveal crash-reduction predictions. The results, said the FSIP reps, are actionable.
In addition to a commitment to safety, Ford is equally “committed to working with cities to help make our streets safer,” said Bill Frykman, director, city solutions for Ford Motor Company, in a press release. Using Safety Insights, “our goal is to give cities like Windsor the tools and information they need to empower their decision-making abilities and improve the day-to-day lives of their residents.”
The web-based FSIP—its slogan is “turning the inevitable into the preventable”—is a three-step system created so traffic safety engineers can use a provided proactive process “to gain system-level viewing” in order to solve existing, repeated safety problems in the city.
Step one: Visualize data
The program features a layered map, which is the base for all three steps. It visualizes data in an area, the most repetitive crashes (broken down by types of crashes, such as alcohol-related, cyclists, etc), crash hotspots/vehicle events, and traffic volume. Proprietary connected vehicle data, such as hard-braking events and traffic data, are combined in an interface to figure out the causes of crashes.
Step two: Identify areas of interest/hotspot identification
The layered map will reveal roads and intersections that are crash hotspots for pedestrian crashes, which the platform can access through the network screening from the Highway Safety Manual. The Insights platform lets traffic engineers and city planners pinpoint areas in a specific jurisdiction that have higher-than-expected crashes.
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Step three: Simulate solutions
Platform users can apply solutions and save countermeasures in a shareable report, so organizations can understand the predicted costs and benefits of reducing crashes on specific road intersections.
Windsor is not without long-standing connections to Ford. “In 1904, Henry Ford opened his first Canadian operations in Windsor, Ontario,” said Stephen MacKenzie, president and CEO of WindsorEssex Economic Development Corporation, in a press release. “In 2021, we are honoured to continue this vision of a strong binational presence and build our reputation as the Automobility Capital of Canada.”
Ford’s collaboration with Windsor has been developed through supply chain management and an example of smart city innovation to ensure local public safety. It’s a one-year pilot program and funded through the Windsor Essex Economic Development’s FedDev grant for automobility ecosystem building.
Data for this project is assisted by StreetLight and CMF (Crash Modification Factors Clearinghouse).