Las Vegas Roadway Sees Reduction in Crashes During AI Experiment
LAS VEGAS, NV. – According to an online news story from govtech.com, a busy stretch of road in Las Vegas, Nevada, saw a reduction in vehicle crashes during an artificial intelligence experiment. However, the report comes with some asterisks.*
In the months of August and September this year, crash-prediction technology company Waycare used artificial intelligence to identify problem areas along a few miles of Interstate 15 in Las Vegas, right where the interstate meets Russell Road by the famous Vegas sign. Compared to May through July, the actions taken by Waycare, law enforcement, and transportation officials appear to have reduced crashes by 17 percent.
During the experiment, Waycare’s AI formed predictions about the likelihood of crashes at certain locations at certain times. Officers and representatives from the Nevada Highway Patrol, the Nevada Department of Transportation, and the Regional Transportation Commission of Southern Nevada then stationed themselves at the predicted areas, running flashing lights and posting signs telling drivers to slow down. Drivers, in turn, slowed down, which created the effect of fewer crashes. Slower speeds equal greater time to react.
From May to July, over 92 days, 57 crashes occurred on that stretch of road. From August to September, over 29 days, 15 crashes occurred on the same stretch. The daily primary crash average dropped from 0.62 to 0.52. The shorter period of time might have skewed the results, combined with the fact that law enforcement were already in the area when crashes occurred to clear them and prevent additional, secondary crashes.
In addition, the control period (May to July) might have had inflated traffic and crashes because of major sporting events in the city, like three Stanley Cup games occurring in late May and early June. That said, people involved in the experiment feel pretty confident in the realness of the data. This is so in part because Las Vegas – and Nevada as a state – has seen no decreases in traffic crashes in recent years. Any meaningful decrease in the usual crashes cannot be a coincidence, they say.
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