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Making TraCS With Traffic Safety

NCJ Number
Date Published
2 pages
In 1994, in an effort to reduce time-consuming paperwork related to traffic management data collection and processing, the Iowa Department of Transportation (DOT) took the lead in developing TraCS (Traffic and Criminal Software), which is an electronic reporting program that is available at no cost to law enforcement agencies across the country.
By using TraCS, agencies can now create their own local databases in addition to transmitting reports electronically to the Iowa DOT, making the information available the next day. Use of electronic reporting eliminates duplicate data entry, cuts down on keying errors and problems caused by poor handwriting, and reduces time spent on the scene. The State owns the source code for the TraCS software, which eliminates vendor licensing fees and enables Iowa to provide TraCS to other States and agencies within those States at no charge. Although the software is free, agencies must still purchase the hardware required to operate the program; however, TraCS will run on laptops that agencies may already be using for other purposes. Just over 15 additional States are in the process of implementing TraCS for some or all of their law enforcement agencies. TraCS' design enables it to generate electronic forms that are identical to the paper forms an agency previously used, so no department is required to change its forms or procedures. The only change for officers is learning to input data electronically. Although Iowa developed the software and owns it, future development priorities are decided by consensus among representatives of all participating States, who regularly meet to discuss modifications.

Date Published: January 1, 2003