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Challenge FAQs

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How do I follow the Challenge and get updates?

We’ve several methods to keep you informed so you can focus on Solving for Safety. Check the website regularly for announcements and sign up to receive updates using your email. Contribute to the conversation using #solve4safety.

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Who can I contact if I have questions about the Challenge?

Email us at solve4safety@dot.gov.

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When was the Challenge announced?

Under Secretary of Transportation for Policy Derek Kan announced the Challenge on June 14, 2018.

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Where can I find an overview of the Challenge?

On June 19, we hosted a webinar to review the purpose of the challenge, the rules, and the requirements for submission. Watch the Challenge Mechanics Webinar recording.

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Is this a national challenge?

Yes, this is a national challenge. Not only will USDOT be seeking solvers from all over the nation, the tools being developed for this challenge are intended for – and will be used nationally.

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Why is the Challenge so important?

Although the overall decades-long decline in injuries demonstrates transportation safety successes, we cannot afford to revert towards the recent, across-the-board increases in motor vehicle crashes. Without additional understanding of the underlying causes, the increases in motor vehicle crashes will be difficult to fully address through policymaking and system operations. The Challenge will help fill this gap by harnessing the power of visualization to cultivate an ecosystem of insights and innovative technologies that changes the way transportation safety is approached.

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Why is USDOT solving for safety?

Safety has consistently been DOT’s top strategic and organizational goal. The DOT Strategic Plan Safety Goal for FY 2018 - 2022 maintains this commitment by focusing on reducing transportation-related fatalities and serious injuries across the transportation system. The Safety Goal’s Strategic Objective 1 mitigates risks and encourages infrastructure and behavior change by using a data-driven systemic safety approach. 

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What is USDOT’s Safety Data Initiative?

The Safety Data Initiative (SDI) was developed to support the FY 2018 – 2022 DOT Strategic Plan Safety Goal’s Strategic Objective 1. The SDI strategically prioritizes and addresses transportation safety risks through data-informed decision-making and focuses on:

  • Data Visualization,
  • Data Integration, and
  • Predictive Insights.
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Why is the Challenge focused on visualization?

The difficulty in addressing serious crashes in the United States is due, in part, to the complexity of crashes.  Analytical visualization tools can cast new light on the data to reveal insights not seen though tabular analysis. The Challenge has been created to advance the use of safety data visualizations for answering analytical questions related to surface transportation system safety. As with other government competitions, Solving for Safety Visualization Challenge aims to create a vibrant community of thinkers and doers who drive revolutionary innovation. Technology has already changed how most of us get around. Let’s leverage it to change how we view transportation safety.

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What internal Safety Data Initiative projects is DOT working on?

In addition to an external data visualization challenge, USDOT is discovering insights through internal Safety Data Initiative Projects:

  • Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) Visualization Project - modernizes FARS visualization products,
  • Neighborhood Pedestrian Fatality Risk Research Project - generates better understanding of pedestrian fatality risk through data use and integration,
  • Rural Speed Data Project - produces insights into rural roadway safety by integrating data sources, and
  • Waze Data Project – models crash events on a near real-time basis, using crowdsourced data from the Waze social GPS and navigation application.
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What areas of transportation safety is the Challenge addressing?

USDOT Challenge Solvers will develop Analytical Visualization Tools to complement internal Safety Data Initiative projects while identifying and addressing one or more of the safety focus areas listed below.

  • Vulnerable System Users – These are non-motorized road users, such as pedestrians and cyclists as well as motorcyclists and persons with disabilities or reduced mobility and orientation.
  • Conflict Points Impacts – These are locations where user paths coincide. Conflict points are categorized as crossing, merging (or joining) and diverging (or separating).  These include road intersections and rail grade crossings.
  • High Risk Factors – These are young drivers, impaired drivers, drowsy drivers, older drivers, speeding drivers. 
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How will the visualization tools solve the transportation safety focus areas?

Solvers from around the Nation will develop tools for revealing insights and visualizing the risks of serious crashes for policy-makers, transportation providers and system operators. Challenge solvers will choose between two types of Analytical Visualization Tools to develop:

  • Discover Insights Tools which analyze data to reveal patterns and trends, and use compelling visualizations to explain what is happening, understand the meaning behind the data, and draw conclusions. These tools often combine disparate data sets and allow a user to ask a question and search for answers visually.
  • Simulation Tools which assist in decision-making by visualizing data, mathematical, and statistical models to identify issues, determine correlations, and assign probabilities with a degree of accuracy.  Developed using existing models and data, including those provided by USDOT and Innovation Agents, this type of tool will allow users to visualize the outputs of model simulations and scenarios, highlighting the different conditions and the results of sensitivity and parametric analysis to visually assist in decision-making.
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What is the timeframe for the Challenge?

This is approximately a 6-month, 3-stage challenge. Stage I is a 1.5-month ideation development stage where we ask solvers to provide a detailed description of the proposed analytical visualization tool. USDOT will evaluate submissions and give recognition to four semi-finalists and invite them to advance to the next stage. Stage II is a 1-month development stage where we ask the four semi-finalists to develop ideations into proofs of concept while competing for part of a $100,000 prize purse. USDOT will then give recognition to two semi-finalists and invite them to advance to the next stage. Stage III is a 2-month development stage where we ask the two finalists to develop their proofs of concept into working tools while competing for a $250,000 prize purse, with each receiving a minimum of $50,000. USDOT will give recognition to the finalists.

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How long is the Challenge?

This is approximately a 6-month challenge that includes 1 month for ideation development, followed by a judging stage, 1 month for proof of concept development, and 2 months for full working analytical visualization tool development.

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How much is the Challenge prize purse?

The Challenge consists of three stages. Solvers will compete for an overall prize of $350,000, with a final stage solver competing for a maximum prize of $225,000.

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What happens to the winning technology after the prize?

As part of their acceptance of prizes, each finalist grants Intellectual Property to USDOT and its designees. Read the Clarification of Intellectual Property Rights for All Participants to learn more.

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How do I compete?

The Challenge is designed to capture solvers’ imaginations, unlocking their creativity, and empowering them to raise awareness about and to take up the quest of improving road and rail user safety – an issue that impacts all lives. The Solving for Safety Visualization Challenge application closed on July 31, 2018, 11:59 PM ET. 

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Who can participate?

Eligible Solvers are individuals or teams (United States and US territories) from the business and research communities. This includes organizations such as: technology companies, analytics firms, transportation carriers, industry associations, research institutions, universities, mapping and visualization providers.

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How can I become an Innovation Agent?

The first step is to declare your support of the Challenge. Innovation Agents may register their support throughout the Challenge by signing up at www.transportation.gov/solve4safety/innovation-agents. USDOT will provide a public listing of all organizations and companies who identify as Challenge Innovation Agents. This listing will provide a brief description and contact information for each Innovation Agent to assist Solvers that are interested in talking to or partnering with Innovation Agents for the Challenge. USDOT will list two types of Challenge Innovation Agents: Technical Assistance and Data. Become an Innovation Agent!

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Who can become an Innovation Agent?

USDOT will list two types of Challenge Innovation Agents: Technical Assistance and Data. 

Technical Assistance Innovation Agents can provide interested Solvers with knowledge, guidance, insight and issues related to transportation safety. Technical Assistance Innovation Agents may be able to provide technical assistance related to key safety issues impacting their members or employees, transportation safety techniques, transportation system characteristics, users and operations, approaches from other industries and sectors.

Data Innovation Agents can provide interested Solvers with access to data or analytic techniques that can be used in the analytical visualization tools. Use of a wide variety of disparate data is encouraged to gain insights into reducing fatalities and serious injuries on the U.S. road and rail systems.

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What will I do as an Innovation Agent?

DOT Innovation Agents are critical to the Challenge by providing real world knowledge, guidance, insight, issues, data and recognition of the issue to non-transportation safety populations. Solvers are encouraged to seek support from Innovation Agents to strengthen their individual/team expertise. The Challenge will host a webinar to facilitate Solver-Innovation Agent building.

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Why should I become an Innovation Agent?

Challenge Innovation Agents will have the opportunity to explain their expertise and capacity to interested Solvers who will be designing tools that can prove useful in furthering the Innovation Agents or other user’s efforts to reduce fatalities and serious injuries.  Innovation Agents providing data access will benefit from national recognition and highlight of their data asset, and the exploration and testing of their data by Solvers for use by the transportation safety community.

USDOT will provide a public listing of all organizations and companies who identify as Challenge Innovation Agents. This listing will provide a brief description and contact information for each Innovation Agent to assist Solvers that are interested in talking to or partnering with Innovation Agents for the Challenge.

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Why is transportation safety so important?

Road and rail user safety is an issue that effects all lives, especially the Nation’s most vulnerable populations, including our youngest generations. Crashes were the leading cause of death for age 10 and every age 16 through 23 in 2015. While the greatest cost is the loss of human lives, the expenses associated with injuries extend beyond medical and legal costs to the more intangible quality of life consequences, including lost market and household productivity, which ultimately impact us all. Comprehensively, crashes are a societal harm that cost the Nation over $800 billion dollars annually.

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Where can I learn more about surface-mode transportation safety?

Visit the Challenge Resource page to access recommended safety data and models and the sites listed below to read about internal DOT safety efforts.

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Why is the Challenge seeking insights on existing models and data?

The USDOT’s transportation safety programs have decades of research and design behind them and have proven effective in reducing injuries and fatalities. However, traditional factors do not fully explain the causes of the recent significant increase in traffic fatalities. Analytical visualization tools can cast new light on the data to reveal insights not seen though tabular analysis.

We’re looking for solutions that bring novel concepts and perspectives to existing models and data to develop analytical visualization tools that provide life-saving insights for transportation safety. The Challenge has been created to advance the use of safety data visualizations for answering analytical questions related to surface transportation system safety.

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How will my submission be evaluated?

A judging panel of cross-functional technical experts and senior level staff will select finalists and award prizes. Below are the criteria judges will consider. Read more about the judging process.

  • Stage I: Ideation – Insights/Simulation, Data, Benefits, Technology, Cost to Implement
  • Stage II: Concept – Technical Approach, Design and Desirability, Analytical Depth, Technology Transfer Readiness Level and Feasibility, Scalability, Team
  • Stage III: Tool – Quality of Methods, Sustainability, Functionality and Technical Effectiveness, Expected Return on Investment 
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Why do I have to upload a video for the ideation submission?

Your video will supplement your submission by giving judges a comprehensive view of your vision for the analytical visualization tool. It will also capture your creativity and capacity for innovation.

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What should I put in my ideation submission video?

We’re asking Solvers to provide a link to a 30-second video of the submission. The video should showcase your creativity and innovation. It should tie together the intricate components of your novel idea and give judges a more complete idea of your vision.

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What file formats are accepted for the ideation submission appendices?

Accepted upload file formats include: .ppt, .pptx, .doc, .docx, .pdf, .jpg, .png (50 MB max).

Learn about the Safety Data Initiative.

Safety Data Initiative

Learn about the Submissions.

Submissions

See the Prizes.

Prizes

Meet the Innovation Agents.

Innovation Agents

Important Dates

Schedule

Updated: Wednesday, November 7, 2018
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