Decision MediaWorks

What Tailgate Town is Most Likely To Get You In A Fender Bender?

It is a pilgrimage for many in Florida. Fans heading back to their college towns for the opening game. The energy, the tailgating and of course, the traffic.

One of the most definitive rivalries in Florida is the one between UF and FSU. For those of you sporting “House Divided” décor we wanted to settle a score. What college town has the worst drivers?

We decided to look at the number of traffic accidents in Alachua and Leon counties and compare them to the state of Florida as a whole to find out if what I’m experiencing is something more than happenstance. The figures in the graph below are the ratio of accidents to population.

We found that in Alachua County, you are 25% more likely to be involved in a crash compared to the rest of Florida. But you are even more likely to be heading to the body shop after a visit to ‘Nole Country. In Leon county you are almost 35% more likely to be in an accident compared with the rest of Florida.

So, according to the data, both schools are excellent at producing terrible drivers, but FSU takes the top ranking.

This post was contributed by Alabama native @mrdanieldean…Roll Tide!

The Moneyball of You

This month’s issue of ESPN The Magazine features a flattering yet realistic description of the challenges faced by the Jacksonville Jaguars analytics team and its leader, Tony Khan.

The comparisons of my beloved Jags and the Oakland Athletics of Moneyball fame are many. Small market teams struggling to compete seek a competitive edge using an “unproven” method that contradicts the “gut” of old school types.

Yet, from a data science perspective, football is far different from baseball. The ESPN article says this:

“At the heart of baseball is a one-on-one battle — pitcher vs. batter — that allows for easy collection of clean, accurate, predictive data. In football, though, there are 22 moving parts on each play, along with an infinite number of variables, including score, field position and down and distance.”

In football it is difficult to collect data on all the possible variables that could be influencing the outcomes we are attempting to forecast. From a data perspective, football is messy, inconsistent and blurry but not unpredictable. Football is like life.

Football, like life, is about to change.

The football field of 2018 will look a lot the same…except for the sensors. Every player will have helmets that monitor impacts and brainwave activity. Shoulder pads will record body temperature and heart rate. Every player’s exact position and speed on the field will be recorded by GPS, and Google Glass-like recordings will be made on every play by every player on the field.

When the data becomes as dynamic as the game, a strange thing happens.

The Tony Khan’s of the world will no longer reside in the windowless bowels of NFL stadiums but will run game day war rooms alongside coordinators…the real-time data pouring in and being processed instantly. Khan will use this data to score potential plays and personnel packages based on their probability of success and deliver a menu of “best chance” plays to Jaguar coaches.

Think that sounds like science fiction? To see how ubiquitous sensors have become in our daily lives, I want you to do an experiment for me. Take your phone out of your pocket and try to count all its sensors:

Camera, spectrometer (light sensor), GPS, accelerometer, microphone, gyroscope, clock, WiFi.

All these sensors turn the seemingly random and chaotic activities of our lives into neat, structured data.

Authors Viktor Mayer-Schonberger and Kenneth Cukier call this trend of measuring our live “datatization.” Datatization means that you will have access to incredibly detailed information and analytics about you. Want to know what evening habits lead to your best nights of sleep? Want to know at what temperatures you are most likely to feel happy? Want to predict your likelihood of divorce? Its already possible and this is only the start.

The next generation of wearable computers will increase the amount of datatization a thousand-fold. Today’s sensors measure our outside world, and tomorrow’s will datatize our inner world.

Google Glass can see what you see. Biometric bracelets will report heart rate and body temperature. Our physiological and mental condition will be datatized and mashed up with data about our driving, web browsing, eating and shopping habits to reveal hidden insights into our lives.

It’s the Moneyball of you and you will be the Tony Khan of your own life.

*Awesome Data Cat cartoon from ESPN.com (http://a.espncdn.com/photo/2013/0819/mag_jags-illo01jr_400.jpg)

10-20-Life. Does it matter?

After we posted last week on the relationship between concealed carry permits and violent crime, Greg Newburn of Families Against Mandatory Minimums tweeted to ask about similar data on the policy of “10-20-Life.” You can learn more about this mandatory sentencing policy here.

We did some research and here is what we found:

- Easily accessible public data on Florida firearm crime is not available going back more than a decade. This is unfortunate because 10-20-Life became law in 1998. The bottom line is that we can’t follow the trend all the way back, but we can go back ten years.

- While violent crime in Florida has fallen dramatically over the last decade, gun crime actually spiked in the mid-2000s before falling again in the last few years. In turns out, the trend of using guns for violent crime is a bit disjointed from overall violent crime rates and from the number of concealed carry permits (i.e. more guns possessed by Floridians). Hence, there is no easy connection between overall violence and gun crime or the number of guns and gun crime.

- We can’t make any clear judgments about 10-20-Life without having data from before the policy was enacted. But, you can see the available data for yourself and form your own hypothesis. Ask yourself what trend the overall gun crime rate (purple line on the chart) mirrors. For example, our researcher @mrDanielDean thought gun crime seemed to rise and fall with the economy.

The chart below is interactive- just hover over points to see the data. As always, if you like what you see, please share it!

Summering in North Carolina

Recently, Florida’s Turnpike Enterprise announced that SunPass would now work on North Carolina toll roads. This agreement makes sense seeing as how every Floridian we know has made the requisite pilgrimage to the mountains this summer.

If you’re interested in more facts on this long standing vacationing trend, check out this article from a North Carolina business publication (WARNING: You will learn what native North Carolinians really think about us “Floridiots”).

We wanted to get a better picture of which Florida cities are best represented along the ridges, so we made this list of Florida cities with the highest Google search volumes for “North Carolina.” The cities are ranked in proportion to the top searching Florida market (Jacksonville).

As always, if you find this a tid-bit interesting, please share it.


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