PITA FY2014 Projects

Assessment of Existing Pennsylvania Safety Inspection Data and Creation of Web-based Analytics Warehouse for Modified Program

PI:H. Scott Matthews, Engineering and Public Policy

University:Carnegie Mellon University

Co-PI(s):Chris Hendrickson, Civil and Environmental Engineering
Paul Fischbeck, Social and Decision Sciences

Industry Affiliate(s):Compuspections, LLC

Summary:Passenger vehicles (automobiles and light trucks) may be subject to safety inspection to verify road-worthiness. Such programs require specific inspections on vehicle components like tires and brakes to be performed with varying frequencies (e.g., annually) and on various subsets of the fleet (e.g., exempting new cars). In Pennsylvania, every passenger vehicle must be inspected every year.

Various parties have called for modifications and/or elimination of state safety inspection programs. However, inspection data have not been available, and thus efforts to assess or make improvements to programs are not possible. The data currently collected by Pennsylvania is extremely limited and does not capture the full inspection workflow, hampering efforts to make decisions.

In this project, we will collaboratively work with Compuspections, a Pennsylvania-based software company that assists inspection stations in the management and quality assurance of their safety inspection program records. We propose to assist them in developing a web-based inspection management system that could be used in Pennsylvania to record data from all vehicle inspections. In addition we will work to help organize their archive of previously collected inspection records (approximately 10 million records over the last 10 years) in order to provide stakeholders with better information, especially legislators interested in modifying the inspection program. In support of this effort, we will develop data mining and visualization methods to operate on the web-based data archive to identify features such as trends associated with inspection failure rates across make-model-year of vehicle, age, and miles driven. Our effort will also attempt to associate changes in the inspection program with changes in crashes and fatalities, based on data from national databases such as FARS. We expect the economic and social benefits within Pennsylvania to be substantial, and expect commensurate spillover benefits to other states considering changes to their programs by demonstrating a best-practices solution for inspection data management