A group of George Brown College business students won an international data analytics competition, and their findings could result in real-world changes to traffic safety in Toronto.
Kate Armstrong, Christopher Caballero, Kieran Anson-Cartwright, Rofelyna King, and Karlee White, students in the Analytics for Business Decision Making program, won the 2022 SAS Safe Roads Competition, a virtual event for college and university students from across Canada and Mexico. Teams work with open datasets from Toronto Police and Geotab and provide recommendations to improve road safety and reduce the risk of pedestrian fatalities.
"I feel very proud knowing that as a group competing for George Brown College, we were able to make a real difference in how they view traffic and collisions,” Cabellero said.
The competition supports the global Vision Zero strategy to which the City of Toronto has committed. The strategy aims to eliminate all traffic fatalities and severe injuries and to increase safe and equitable mobility, with a focus on the city’s most vulnerable populations. The GBC students competed against nearly 20 other teams.
“I find it really exciting. We know that traffic safety is going to be a challenge going forward, especially with a growing population,” White said. “It's not like we have the option of creating more space for more cars in Toronto.”
Developing solutions to real-world problems
The GBC team also pulled external population and infrastructure data from the City of Toronto to prepare its recommendations. The students found that most collisions occurred during the afternoon rush hour on Thursdays and Fridays and that the highest growth rate of accidents was in residential and recreational areas.
"We also found that the red-light cameras in Toronto had an overall reduction on collisions," White said. "And we wanted to look into other traffic calming measures, like having a police officer stationed at a certain location or whether speed bumps could help reduce collisions.”
The team recommended specific locations in the city to install speed bumps and red-light cameras, as well as locations and times for Toronto Police to deploy officers and vehicles in at-risk areas.
Teamwork makes the dream work
Caballero expressed great pride in his teammates’ abilities and how they all brought unique talents to the table.
“I really do believe diversity and the different skill sets we brought coming from different backgrounds really made this more productive," he said. “I think it was really valuable to work with people from different backgrounds in order to complete this.”
Congratulations to the team on this impressive accomplishment and a big thanks to the faculty coaches Richard Boire, Dr. Andy Ohemeng Asare and Dr. Robin Yap.