Data Visualization

Blog of the Data Visualization & Communication Course at OSB-AUB

This is my favorite part about analytics: Taking boring flat data and bringing it to life through visualization” John Tukey

Cruisin’ to Safety: Analyzing US Traffic Accidents and Steering Towards Safer Roads

Cruisin’ to Safety: Analyzing US Traffic Accidents and Steering Towards Safer Roads

Rising Traffic Accidents

The rise in traffic accidents in the United States poses a critical threat to public safety and disrupts the efficiency of road networks. This trend not only jeopardizes lives but also undermines the reliability of the transportation system, leading to unpredictable and dangerous road conditions. Additionally, these frequent incidents have significant economic implications, straining resources and impacting the broader economy. In 2019, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimated the economic cost of motor vehicle crashes at $340 billion, nearly 2% of the U.S. GDP. Beyond immediate costs, these accidents strain emergency services and disrupt the transportation of goods, affecting productivity. The current state of road safety in the U.S. presents a significant challenge, with 1.7 million traffic accidents recorded in 2022, with the majority recorded in California. This alarming figure is not just a standalone concern; it is projected to escalate to an estimated 2.7 million by 2025. Such an increase not only signifies a growing risk to public safety but also hints at underlying issues in traffic management and driver behavior. The most telling evidence of this problem is its direct impact on traffic flow. Approximately 80% of these accidents significantly disrupt traffic, leading to delays, increased travel times, and economic costs associated with lost productivity.

Factors Behind US Traffic Incidents

When addressing the challenge of road accidents, a critical first step is identifying the root cause, which literature suggests can be attributed to either Road Conditions or Driver Behavior. Analyzing the data reveals a notable trend – a significant proportion of accidents occur in optimal weather conditions, free from rain or snow that could compromise traction. Equally, visibility does not emerge as a primary factor, with over 90% of accidents transpiring when visibility extends beyond 3 miles. Intriguingly, the majority of accidents unfold during peak traffic hours, indicating a prevalence of low to medium-speed collisions. Importantly, the data suggests that road design is not a predominant issue in these accidents. This underscores the imperative of delving into driver behavior as a key focus for addressing and mitigating the high frequency of road accidents.

The majority of accidents unfold at key intersections—stop lights, junctions, and crossings—marked as conflict points. These areas pose heightened risk as drivers executing left or right turns must seamlessly merge with oncoming traffic while yielding to vehicles with the right of way. To address this challenge, various mitigation measures can be implemented. Introducing turning loops, employing stop signs, and incorporating give-way protocols are among the strategies aimed at enhancing the safety of these critical points. These measures are designed to streamline traffic flow, clarify right-of-way assignments, and ultimately contribute to a reduction in accidents at these high-risk locations by reducing the need for decision-making by the driver.

Recommended Mitigation Measures

To address the escalating issue of car accidents, particularly those stemming from complex driver decision-making at intersections, a targeted approach is recommended. This approach involves implementing specific traffic management solutions designed to simplify the decision-making process for drivers, thereby reducing the likelihood of accidents. The key elements of this strategy are as follows:

1. Turning Loops:

  • Purpose: Turning loops, also known as dedicated turning lanes, provide a designated space for vehicles to make turns without disrupting the flow of through traffic.
  • Implementation: These loops are often marked by dedicated lanes with clear signage, allowing turning vehicles to enter and exit the flow of traffic more safely.
  • Efficiency: Turning loops have demonstrated a high efficiency rate of 94%, making them a highly effective solution for managing turning movements at intersections.

2. Stop Signs:

  • Purpose: Stop signs are effective in controlling the movement of vehicles at intersections, ensuring that drivers come to a complete stop and yield to oncoming traffic before proceeding.
  • Implementation: Placing stop signs at appropriate points within an intersection helps regulate traffic and minimizes the risk of collisions, especially in situations where the right of way needs clarification.
  • Efficiency: Stop signs exhibit a commendable efficiency rate of 90%, proving to be a reliable means of directing traffic and minimizing conflicts.

3. Give Way Protocols:

    • Purpose: Give way markings and rules dictate which vehicle has the right of way, helping to prevent conflicts between turning and oncoming traffic.
    • Implementation: Clearly marked give-way lines and signs indicate where drivers must yield, promoting smoother merging and reducing the likelihood of accidents caused by confusion regarding right-of-way rules.
    • Efficiency: Give-way protocols have demonstrated an efficiency rate of 86%, contributing significantly to the orderliness and safety of intersections.

In addition to the above insights derived from the analysis of the data at hand, we sought the opinion of technical experts. The work was presented to a group of transportation engineers at Dar Al-Handasah for technical validation on the proposed mitigation measures. The engineers (Marwan Younes, Elie Beyrouthy, Rami Tawk, Elena Abi Aad, Lea Braidy, Tarek Tawouk) have worked on road design projects in Europe, USA, Africa, Arabian Gulf Countries and many more. The team confirmed that, when implemented in compliance with existing codes and standards, these measures would indeed reduce the number of accidents and lead to a safer road network with minimal infrastructure and road layout changes making them cost effective.

These measures collectively represent a cost-effective approach to traffic management. Their implementation, involving relatively simple infrastructure changes like signage and road markings, is less costly compared to more extensive road modifications. The practicality of these solutions lies in their simplicity and effectiveness, making them easily adaptable to various traffic scenarios and beneficial for drivers, pedestrians, and the broader community by creating safer, more efficient road environments.


Stolen Innocence: The Silent Struggle of HIV-Positive Children

Stolen Innocence: The Silent Struggle of HIV-Positive Children

Every two minutes, a child is infected with HIV, and every five minutes, a child loses their life to HIV-related diseases.



Childhood HIV infection remains a global health crisis, with alarming statistics highlighting the urgency of addressing this silent struggle. While progress has been made, particularly in Africa, where the impact is most significant, challenges persist.


Global Overview:

In Africa, the number of children under 14 living with HIV reached its peak in 2007 at 2.1 million, dropping to 1.3 million. However, this reduction, though significant, is not sufficient, especially when considering that the current figure is still ten times higher than the number seen in the rest of the world. The Sub-Saharan region bears the brunt of this crisis, necessitating targeted interventions.



Transmission and Prevention:

Mother-to-child transmission (MTCT) remains a primary mode of infection during pregnancy, childbirth, or breastfeeding. Antiretroviral therapy (ART) is a key preventive measure, significantly reducing transmission rates. Advances in ART have transformed the prognosis for HIV-positive individuals, enabling longer and healthier lives and lower transmissions.


Impact of ART on New Infections:

The introduction of ART treatment for HIV+ pregnant women in Africa in 2000 led to a remarkable 74% reduction in the number of children newly infected with HIV, highlighting the efficacy of ART in preventing mother-to-child transmission.


Challenges in Access to Treatment:

Despite progress, access to ART for pregnant women in Africa has stagnated. In the past five years, only marginal improvement, with approximately 30% of pregnant women still untreated throughout their pregnancies. Identifying barriers to treatment access and the need for targeted interventions.




The strides made in reducing new HIV infections among children through ART are commendable, yet the battle is far from over. Focused efforts are required to address the persistent challenges in ensuring that all HIV-positive pregnant women in Africa have access to life-saving treatments such as:

  • Scale up access to ART for pregnant women by increasing medication availability and addressing logistical challenges.
  • Conduct comprehensive community education campaigns to raise awareness about HIV testing, treatment, and prevention, with a focus on dispelling myths and reducing stigma.
  • Integrate HIV testing and treatment services into routine maternal and child healthcare to ensure consistent and timely care for pregnant women.

The urgency of this mission cannot be overstated, as it directly impacts the innocence and lives of countless children at risk of falling victim to this silent epidemic.