Road crash stats used to create website for finding ‘least dangerous’ route

The new platform uses geolocations from more than 700,000 road crashes to work out the safest route between two points

Groupama has launched a free platform allowing drivers to choose the route that is statistically the least dangerous.

The insurance company used government statistics on accidents which became 'open data’ in recent months, compiling some 700,000 crashes over the last seven years with their precise geolocation.

“We started with a statistical observation that shows that a lot of accidents happen on daily trips,” Thierry Martel, CEO of Groupama, told ‘Le Echos’. “Two-thirds of all accidents occur in built-up areas and three-quarters of fatal accidents occur on daily or short journeys. It is a matter of making the French aware that the danger is when you go to work, on the way to school or when you go shopping.”

The platform, which will be available on mobile and computer, will offer drivers both the fastest route and an alternative route on which they are statistically less likely to be involved in an accident, without the latter taking more than 20% additional travel time. In Paris, for example, it takes 24 minutes to go from the Eiffel Tower to the Gare de Lyon by the least risky route, against 19 minutes by the fastest route, in which 129 more accidents occurred. "Four to five minutes difference is negligible, especially if this greatly limits the probability of an accident," said Mr Martel.

Using the platform will be free of charge. “As an insurer committed to road safety for over 40 years, we did not want to take a commercial approach, but rather one in the general interest,” said Mr Martel. “We hope that this service can be recommended by road professionals and integrated into the future updates of the major GPS brands.”

While the topic of data is highly sensitive, especially when handled by insurers, Groupama specifies that it will not trace the routes of users and its customers.

This use of ‘open data’ is undoubtedly a sign of a new era for insurers, determined to make the most of the huge amount of data available to them. “This is the first time we have used open data to make a service available to the public,” said Mr Martel. “It is obvious that open data opens up a lot of possibilities.”

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