State Highway Office Awards Washington College GIS Program

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The Maryland Department of Transportation Motor Vehicle Administration’s Maryland Highway Safety Office has awarded Washington College’s GIS Program a grant of $494,000 to continue its work helping minimize fatal and serious injury crashes on Maryland’s roadways. This is the fifth consecutive year the GIS Program has won the grant.

“The grant renewal is part of $11.7 million in federal highway safety funds that are distributed to various agencies and organizations throughout Maryland to assist the mission towards zero deaths,” says GIS Program Director Erica McMaster. The funds will support hiring an additional GIS statistical data analyst and will broaden the opportunities for College students who work in the lab.

“The GIS team has expanded and improved its support to the Maryland Highway Safety Office (MHSO) and local law enforcement,” McMaster says. The new analyst will be responsible for quality checking the datasets and running statistical methods on the data to report the findings to MHSO and Maryland’s Traffic Records Coordinating Council.

Six staff members and about 20 student interns are currently funded under the MHSO grant. Their work includes supporting the Strategic Highway Safety Plan (SHSP)in six emphasis areas: impaired driving, aggressive driving, occupant protection, distracted driving, pedestrian/bicyclists, and highway infrastructure. Also, as law enforcement has quickly expanded its use of the Risk Analysis Vehicle and Environmental Networks, GIS staff travel statewide to train officers and agencies in how to use the web application, which maps hotspots and one-mile road segments for crashes and citations for each of the SHSP emphasis areas.

Along with affirming the GIS Program’s work, the renewed funding will give student interns greater opportunities to gain training and attend professional conferences that can expand their network of professional connections and help lead to a career after college.

For more information about Washington College’s GIS Program, visit https://www.washcoll.edu/centers/ces/gis/.

About Washington College

Founded in 1782, Washington College is the tenth oldest college in the nation and the first chartered under the new Republic. It enrolls approximately 1,450 undergraduates from more than 35 states and a dozen nations. With an emphasis on hands-on, experiential learning in the arts and sciences, and more than 40 multidisciplinary areas of study, the College is home to nationally recognized academic centers in the environment, history, and writing. Learn more at washcoll.edu.

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