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GIS in Transportation: Identifying Areas of High Accident Density Within Salt Lake County

By Justin Sorensen

GIS (Geospatial Information Systems) are utilized by many fields and industries throughout the world. To highlight some of these fields, our Map Monday releases for the 2019 Spring Semester will provide examples of ways GIS can be employed within the work performed by such professionals.

For this map release, we will look at an example of GIS in Transportation.

Identifying Areas of High Accident Density Within Salt Lake County

Within a transportation infrastructure, GIS plays a critical role in planning, monitoring, and managing complex systems. One method in which GIS can be employed is through its ability to analyze real-world data to make informed decisions. One types of data considered is the occurrence of traffic accidents and their locations within the world.

With a high number of motor vehicles on the road today, traffic accidents are bound to occur. According to data published by the Utah Department of Public Safety, 112, 794 accidents were reported in Salt Lake County between January 2014 and May 2018. While plotting the locations of these accidents can aide in identifying each incident, employing GIS technology can take this analysis to the next level by identifying areas where traffic accident density is found to be the highest.

In this Map Monday release, traffic accident locations for the indicated time span have been visualized using a Kernel-Density Analysis to identify hot spot densities throughout Salt Lake County. The Kernel-Density Analysis depicts each area based on the level of accident occurrences, with low accident density depicted in purple and high accident density depicted in white. The results of such an analysis can be utilized by public safety officials for planning and development efforts to reduce the number of accidents identified in these locations.

What were the results of this Kernel-Density Analysis? Within Salt Lake County, (2) locations returned high density levels. These areas were identified as the vicinity of 9000 South and I-15, and the vicinity of 7200 South and I-15.

Interested in learning more about GIS in other fields? Check out our collection of past Map Monday releases @

About Map Monday from GIS Services:

Throughout the semester, GIS Services will be releasing bi-weekly maps on a variety of topics, demonstrating ideas and uses for incorporating geospatial technology into research and projects you are developing. To view our collection of maps, projects, or to learn more about the geospatial services offered through the J. Willard Marriott Library, please visit the GIS Services website @

Happy Mapping!

Justin Sorensen | GIS Specialist
Creativity & Innovation Services / GIS Services

1 Comment
  • Sprinter Mechanic
    Posted at 10:13h, 08 November Reply

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