Gemma Mendoza - Team Lead
Katerina Francisco - Researcher
Kimiko Sy - Researcher
Michael Bueza - Researcher
The #SaferRoadsPH project (rappler.com/saferroadsph) executed a wide-reaching civic engagement campaign both onground and online that fostered a conducive environment for promoting better policies that protect road users in the Philippines – by nurturing, connecting, and amplifying the voices of a community of stakeholders concerned about road safety.
What makes this project innovative?
In the execution of this project, Rappler combined journalism, technology, social media, and civic engagement to educate the public about best practices in road safety. We did our own data gathering, published stories, and presented our analysis in public fora conducted and livestreamed from different parts of the Philippines. We also engaged the online community through a Facebook group focused on the issue and built a microsite that compiled relevant information on road safety.
The #SaferRoadsPH microsite collated statistics from different repositories and mapped out information on road crash incidents through easy-to-understand visualization. Rappler is the first to organization that tried to compile data from different sources and make sense of the available information.
We also started running a video series entitled “Right of Way” which tackles different topics on motorist and commuter issues in Metro Manila.
What was the impact of your project? How did you measure it?
One story that stood out in our coverage was the in-depth story on Cagayan, a province located roughly 600 kilometers north of Manila, which has the most number of road crash fatalities per capita. The team acquired crash incident data from the province and conducted interviews with victims, local police, and public works officials. Findings from this research were published as a story and presented at forum which included local officials and stakeholders.
Guests at the forum attributed the high incidence of crashes to, among other things, the absence (or the lack) of pedestrian lanes. After the forum, participating groups agreed to conduct an experiment by drawing pedestrian lanes with chalk.
The exercise, which was featured in a social media-friendly video, caught the interest of a follower who reached out to us and volunteered to provide paint to permanently mark the pedestrian lanes within the city. Apart from those donated by the volunteer, the city government of Tuguegarao also painted pedestrian lanes across main public schools. The painting project was completed on September 30, 2017.
All in all, content published on #SaferRoadsPH generated 1.45 million pageviews and 837,449 unique users on the website. Related native content published on Facebook and other social media sites reached 27.9 million users and generated 317.26 million impressions. As of March 2018, the #SaferRoadsPH Facebook group (https://www.facebook.com/groups/saferroadsph), which includes advocates and various stakeholder groups, already has 2,767 members. Each of these are not just interacting with content published on the microsite. They are also posting their own content.
The series also triggered in the enactment of local government legislation related to road safety. This includes an ordinance passed by the City council of Quezon City -- the most populated city in the Philippines which also happens to be the city most affected by crash incidents.
Source and methodology
With no comprehensive national database on road crash numbers, Rappler acquired data from different government agencies such as the Metro Manila Development Authority, the Philippine Statistics Authority, the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board, and from different local government units’ local police. (We published a full explanation on our data sources here: https://www.rappler.com/move-ph/issues/road-safety/171657-road-crash-numbers-data-sources)
Using data cleaning applications, we were able to come up with a better database of information we acquired from the different government agencies. This allowed us to identify which areas has the most number of road crash incidents, at which times, and how many people were affected.
Rappler used Google Refine and Microsoft Excel to clean the database. We used Datawrapper to visualize the data into charts. For the heatmap, we converted the excel file to KML, and eventually to JSON, before plugging it to Google Maps API.