Saving Lives Through Data and Research: DRIVERS and the COARE Facility
By Mirick Paala
According to the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA), at least thirty (30) road fatalities occur each day in the Philippines. The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) state that these incidents mostly affect pedestrians and motorcyclists who come from the most vulnerable sectors in society. In response to this, the Philippine government launched the Philippine Road Safety Action Plan to emphasize the need for adopting the Safe Systems Approach and Vision Zero to achieve safer roads for the Philippines. Central to this plan is the improvement of the collection of road crash data through DRIVERS or the Data for Road Incident Visualization Evaluation and Reporting System. Having a data-driven approach to road safety equips the government to identify issues in the road network, develop evidence-based programs and policies, and ultimately, save lives on the road.
DRIVERS is a publicly available, web-based, and open-source system that allows the geo-referencing of road crash data. It links multiple agencies involved in the data reporting, including local government units, the police, and the health system, and it provides analytical tools to support evidence-based investments and policies. It also monitors the impact of interventions.
The implementation of DRIVERS is led by the national focal point for road safety, the Department of Transportation (DOTr). Local government units and other government agencies including the DPWH, the Department of Health (DOH), the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG), the Philippine National Police (PNP), the Land Transportation Office (LTO), the Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) and the Department of Science and Technology – Advance Science and Technology Institute (DOST-ASTI) all work together to support DRIVERS.
In road crash data collection, each of these agencies has a huge responsibility and one of the most crucial tasks belongs to the Computing and Archiving Research Environment (COARE) Facility under the DOST-ASTI. Through the COARE facility and its services, DRIVERS runs 24/7 and reaches every province in the Philippines. Police stations throughout the country can access DRIVERS and encode road crash data. Local government units can utilize the data to inform interventions. Researchers, students, and people from the academe, can access and use road crash data that have never been open to the public before.
Through the support of the COARE Facility to DRIVERS ever since it was first introduced in 2014, the Philippines has now become an example in road safety data and research throughout the world. Many countries such as Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Bangladesh, and Vietnam have also deployed their own versions of DRIVERS. Currently, the COARE team also provides much-needed technical support to the inter-agency government team which includes uploading national and historical crash data from the DPWH and PNP as well as troubleshooting issues in the system.
Research and data are crucial to address national road safety issues. Through the COARE facility, the government is equipped and empowered to build safer roads and ultimately, to save more lives.
You may access DRIVERS at roadsafety.gov.ph. For questions or clarifications, you may email firstname.lastname@example.org.