As part of a raft of bills on government data and transparency, Council Member Ben Kallos has introduced legislation that would require the city to release and map data about where NYPD issues moving violations, among other things. The bill would open up new traffic enforcement information to the public, but it might also require a top-to-bottom overhaul of how city agencies issue and process violation notices.
Currently, information on moving violations is available only at the precinct level, aggregated in reports on the NYPD website each month. The Kallos bill would require NYPD to specify the date, time, and location of each moving violation in updates posted at least monthly. The bill calls for precise latitude and longitude coordinates, but allows for data to be coded to the nearest intersection.
“There’s a lot of fascinating questions you could explore,” said statistics professor and I Quant NY blogger Ben Wellington, who was particularly interested in tracking whether high-crash areas are also receiving the highest levels of enforcement. ”In a Vision Zero plan, you probably want to shift resources to places where there are the most problems but the least resources,” he said.
City agencies would themselves benefit from user-friendly data releases. “Getting this crime, crash and summonses data online in a usable form would help the police share it both internally and with other agencies,” said John Kaehny, executive director of Reinvent Albany, in a statement. ”We strongly support the intent of this bill, and would like to see the NYPD and City Hall work with CM Kallos and the public to open this data.”
The bill is sponsored by Kallos, Peter Koo, and Rory Lancman, and has also received encouragement from other key council members. Technology Committee Chair James Vacca told Streetsblog last month that he supports releasing geo-coded moving violations data. A spokesperson for Brad Lander said the bill included “good next steps.” Transportation Committee Chair Ydanis Rodriguez said in a statement that he is ”hopeful to see this bill pass.”
The amount of work NYPD would have to undertake to comply with the bill’s mandate remains an open question. The DMV’s traffic ticket form, used by the police department, only has a “place of occurrence” line, in which officers can write a location. This type of non-standardized information is near-impossible to sort geographically.