Recommendations for safety and sustainability measures

Deliverable 51.1 of the EU FP7 project UDRIVE Consortium
Tattegrain, H.; Wilmink, I.; Wesseling, S.; Guyonvarch, L.; Frey, A.; Welsh, R.; Evegenou, M.; Letisserand, D.; Riouffreyt, M.; Guillaume, A.; Nes, N. van

The aim of Task 5.1 is to identify and select, among the outcomes of SP4, the results that are relevant to infer recommendations for measures improving road safety and sustainability. Due to time constraint, the analyses and the recommendations have been done in less time that it was planned at the beginning of the project.
The key outcomes of the SP4 work with particular reference to crash risk, unsafe driving, and eco-driving will be studied and organized in terms of relevance to safety and sustainability policies and potential actions towards road users, vehicle and road. Recommendations have been developed to propose actions to stakeholders that can be implemented in the near future to increase safety and sustainability of road transport. This work integrates several reviews of different measures implemented previously in France, Germany, Netherlands and United Kingdom in terms of road safety measures. Then, the recommendations consider possible updates of existing measures and the development of new measures.
They will include four kinds of areas:

  • Recommendations in terms of regulation and enforcement measures;
  • Recommendations for awareness campaigns and training;
  • Recommendations for design of road infrastructure;
  • Recommendations for vehicle safety.

Looking at road fatalities statistics, we have identified vulnerable road users as a topic which is important to create recommendations for. We have also identified factors that can have an influence on fatality occurrence like age and infrastructure. A report by the World Health Organization in 2015 (WHO, 2015) identified some area’s wherein there is a need for recommendations to improve road safety. We have selected from the by WHO recommended topics, 3 topics which could be explored by naturalistic studies: seat belt, speed, distraction. Another topic that we are looking into is critical situations. The difficulties with investigating critical situations with road fatalities data bases, is that these databases often do not provide fully detailed information about the dynamic of the accident. Naturalistic studies have the ability to explore incidents more in-depth. Another objective of UDRIVE is to improve sustainability by looking into eco-driving. We will look at recommendations for this topic in this report as well.

Improving seat belt use

The analysis provided in SP4 describes how driver’s seat belt are used and in particular what driver/trip characteristics influence seatbelt usage. Even though the driver sample is biased with drivers particularly sensitive to road safety and whom are therefore more likely to use seat belts properly, the results show a lower rate of trips with seat belt on than official numbers show. The main factor linked to this rate appeared to first be the country specific and then gender-related. The study also provides some specific results on driver characteristics linked to driving without seat belt as well as type of trips where seat belt is not used at all. Males are more likely to drive without a seat belt and very short trips at night represent a higher risk to drive without seat belt.
Seat belt use is very important to reduce the gravity of accidents. The European Road Safety Observatory (see appendix A.4 Seat belt wearing rate by car occupancy and road type) has published statistics on the use of seat belts in different countries showing that the French and Polish use the seat belts less, especially in urban areas. The recommendations are to improve the police enforcement, to create awareness campaigns for specific countries (France, Poland) and add seat belts topics in formation for specific population (young men).

Reduce driving above the speed limit

The analyse showed that the French and German participants made small speeding less (between 11 to 15%) than the Dutch and the English participants but in terms of high speeding (between 16 to 21 %), the French and German participants are on average while the English and Dutch are far below. On the other hand, Poles are still very above average for all speeding. The difference between the observed and calculated number of speeding is very high for the speed limits 0-30 km/h and 50-70 km/h. On the other hand, for the speed limits 110-130 km/h and 30-50 km/h, this difference is negative. Regarding the period of the day, the difference is very high during the evening and the night and is negative during the afternoon. Police control, awareness campaign and infrastructure development could be useful to reduce speed in 30 km/h areas. Awareness campaign can be useful to explain the risk during night.

Reducing critical situations

To analyse the critical situations three types of analysis were carried out : an analysis of abrupt braking, an interview experiment to reconstruct as precisely as possible the episode as seen by the driver using the classical techniques of the self-confrontation method, an interview experiment to allow the driver to propose recommendations to prevent critical situations. The hard braking analyse showed that the occurrences of hard braking are not the same for all operational sites and for all speed limit, that the drivers are aware of this weather risk, that the cruise control can be useful. The roundabouts appear as an infrastructure which generates a lot of hard braking and of lowest time headway. In the interview experimentation, most of driver recommendations concern infrastructure modifications and the potential contribution of informative and active driving assistance systems. The infrastructure modifications and the active driving assistance system are more often selected as the first choice than the other type of recommendations.

Improving vulnerable road user safety

The following measures are supported by the results of the UDRIVE studies on vulnerable road users (VRU). Advanced driver assistance systems like blind spot detection and warning systems and AEB that can detect vulnerable road users could prove to be additionally valuable for VRU safety, since car and truck drivers do not always check their blind spot. It could be beneficial to include the usage of ADAS in the training of new drivers. Creating trucks wherein direct vision is enhanced has the potential to contribute to VRU safety since the blind spot area is greatly decreased. Moreover, making cyclists aware of blind spots of large vehicles is important. Designing infrastructure in line with a Safe System approach aims at infrastructure that is able to accommodate for human error (ITF, 2016).This includes physical separation in time or place between drivers and VRU’s. Most near-crashes identified in the UDRIVE study wouldn’t have occurred if road users would have been physically separated. In the UDRIVE study on interactions with pedestrians it seems that the mere presence of pedestrians makes drivers more aware of other potential pedestrians. Creating a ‘pedestrian environment’ by the availability of sidewalks and using traffic calming and intuitive design has good potential to decrease driver-pedestrian conflicts.

Promote eco-driving

The analysis of the UDRIVE data in the context of eco-driving showed that behaviours regarding gearchanging, braking and speed choice were especially relevant as drivers showed large variation in those behaviours with associated substantial variations in CO2-emissions. These were thus starting points for recommendations to promote eco-driving, which should aim to reduce the amount of highly dynamic driving, driving at very low or very high speeds and inefficient gear-changing. Current measures such as eco-driving training and awareness campaigns can be updated to reflect modern vehicles and travel choices that support eco-driving (e.g. route and departure time choice). Recommendations for new measures include enforcement of speed limits with a view to reduce energy use, regulating the use of invehicle systems that contribute to eco-driving, further awareness campaigns promoting the use of vehicles with gear shift indicator and automatic engine shutdown systems, promoting driving in the highest gear, and giving feedback to drivers about their eco-driving ‘scores’. Another category of measures is the design of road infrastructure that supports eco-driving (e.g. grade separated intersections, improved network design, improved traffic light algorithms including communication with vehicles). Traffic management strategies can be adapted to achieve smoother driving (less stop-and-go traffic). And in the longer term, automation of the driving task offers possibilities for programming the vehicles to drive eco-friendly.

Reduce dangerousness of secondary tasks

The UDRIVE data was an opportunity to study in detail occurrence and impact of different secondary tasks on driving for cars as well as trucks. As a global observation, around 6% of the driving time was spent while a driver was performing visuo-manual secondary tasks (the more dangerous ones). Data showed a significant difference between countries. The most frequent secondary task is different between trucks (eating and using in-vehicle controls) and cars (mobile phone use). Even if phone related tasks are not allowed in the studied countries, driver still engage in such tasks. Nearly 39% of the phone time was spent performing visuo-manual tasks and 61% was spent performing auditory tasks in cars. In that sense, drivers seem to be aware of the risk and try to adapt their behaviour. Moreover, car drivers tend to perform mobile phone visuo-manual tasks either while standing still (56%) or at very low driving speed. Nevertheless, it still represents a risk since it tends to decrease driver performance (increase in standard deviation in lane position). Truck drivers feel more comfortable in initiating a task at low speeds (below 30km/h) or at very high speeds (more than 80km/h). Opposite to car drivers, the proportion of phone task initiations was lower at standstill than the overall proportion of standing still in the data. Awareness campaigns could therefore still be fruitful under the condition they are adapted to the real way people drive. It should provide discriminant estimation of risk and emphasis on the specific risks linked to visuomanual tasks.

It should be noted that many of the findings in UDRIVE cannot be generalised to all car drivers or all European countries. In-depth research for proposed specific measures is therefore needed. The proposed measures regarding vehicle safety, regulation and enforcement measures, awareness campaigns and training and design of road infrastructure are supported by the results of the discussed UDRIVE studies at the end of the project. The UDRIVE database will allow the researchers to make more studies for road safety.

European Commission, Brussels

SWOV publication

This is a publication by SWOV, or that SWOV has contributed to.