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A FEHRL Infrastructure Research Workshop took place with great success on 18 July 2019 in the Ministry of Infrastructure and Transport in Athens, Greece. The key-note speech concerned: “On-Ramp to innovation: Let’s co-create together our future transport infrastructure“ and it coincides with the celebration of the 30th anniversary of FEHRL. NTUA actively contributed with the following presentation: Department of Transportation Planning and Engineering
Tongji University organized the “7th International Symposium on Transportation Safety” which took place with great success on 09-10 July 2019, in Shanghai. The Symposium focused on innovations promoting the development of traffic management methods and technologies, and brought together some of the world-leading experts in road safety and traffic modeling, who presented their work on the utilization of big data, cloud computing, statistical modeling, safety surrogate measures, and artificial intelligence. NTUA actively contributed with the following presentation: Advanced Safety Modeling and Management Platform
A Diploma Thesis titled “Investigation of traffic and safety behaviour of pedestrians texting or web-surfing” was recently presented by Marilia Ropaka. The regression analyses developed in this research pointed out that in high pedestrian traffic, mobile use not only decreases pedestrians’ speed, regardless of their age, but also increases their probability of being involved in an accident with an oncoming vehicle. Results indicated that distraction caused by texting or web-surfing had a negative impact on pedestrians’ main traffic and safety characteristics.
A Diploma Thesis titled “Impact of economic, social and transport indicators on serious road injuries in the European Union” was recently presented by Maria Charalampidi. Generalized Linear Models application lead to the conclusion that the percentage of passenger cars with EuroNcap scores 5 stars has the most important impact and its increase leads to serious road injuries decrease. Moreover, the increase of the percentage of buses leads to significant decrease not only to the number of serious road injuries but also to the severity of road accidents.
NTUA Professor George Yannis made a synthesis presentation of road safety performance and respective measures in Greece, at the European Transport Safety Council (ETSC) PIN Panel Meeting, on 20 June, 2019 in Brussels. Greece has made the most impressive road safety improvement in the EU during the last decade (51% road fatalities decrease), with 690 fatalities in 2018: the best ever performance since 1965 and only 61 lives to be saved to reach the EU 2020 target. This is the combined result of the economic crisis and a series of important and systematic measures on road infrastructure, traffic safety legislation and safe road user behaviour campaigns. Road Safety in Greece
A paper titled “Analysis of driver behaviour through smartphone data: The case of mobile phone use while driving” authored by Eleonora Papadimitriou, Anastasia Argyropoulou, Dimitris Tselentis, and George Yannis is now published in Safety Science. The aim of this paper is to explore driving behaviour during mobile phone use on the basis of detailed driving analytics collected by smartphone sensors from OSeven Telematics. The data came from a sample of one hundred drivers (18,850 trips) during a naturalistic driving experiment over four months. The results suggest that mobile phone use while driving may be accurately predicted by the model in more than 70% of cases.
Road Safety is acknowledged as a priority issue in the EuroMed partner countries (Algeria, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Tunisia). However, the collection of credible road safety data is a major challenge. In this context, the recent EuroMed Report, which was launched with the active contribution of NTUA, consists of provision of technical assistance on setting up road safety reliable, harmonized and comparable data collection systems at the EuroMed Partner Countries and sharing at regional level. The Final Report concludes that the adoption of common definitions for road crash variables and values strongly depends on the successful implementation of basic definitions (accident, road, casualty severity) and the systematic and complete reporting of crashes and casualties.
On 28 May, 45 experts from Europe and Australia were gathered in Gothenburg, Sweden, within the framework of the Horizon 2020 project Levitate, in order to discuss which societal impacts Connected and Automated Vehicles will have. Levitate is building tools to help European cities, regions and national governments prepare for a future with increasing levels of Automated Vehicles in passenger cars, urban transport services and urban logistics. The Workshop marked the first meeting of the LEVITATE Stakeholder Group, which aims to facilitate a continuous dialogue between experts, users and the consortium about the impacts of Connected and Automated Transport (CAT).
NTUA contributed actively to the 1st Stakeholder Workshop with the following presentation: CATS-PST Connected and Automated Transport Systems Policy Support Tool
The 5th Congress of the European Academy of Neurology (EAN2019) took place with great success in Oslo, on 29 June – 02 July. More than 6.000 participants from more than 100 countries attended with an overwhelmingly positive feedback in several Symposia, Teaching Courses, Focused Workshops, Hands-on Courses, and Interactive Sessions. Some sessions concerned cognitive impairment and road safety in which NTUA contributed actively with the following presentations:
- The neurological assessment of driving fitness of patients with Alzheimer’s Dementia (AD) or Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI): A systematic review of the existing guidelines
- The slowest to respond: reaction time, accidents and driving errors in neurology patients in urban simulated driving
- The slowest to respond: Reaction time, accidents and driving errors in neurology patients in rural simulated driving
Akis Theofilatos, Dimosthenis Pavlou, Dimitris Tselentis, and Apostolis Ziakopoulos, Research Associates of the Department of Transportation Planning and Engineering of NTUA were awarded with the NTUA Thomaidion Award for outstanding road safety publications in scientific journals. The awards for publications in Scientific Journals concerned:
- Theofilatos A., Yannis G., Investigation of powered 2-wheeler accident involvement in urban arterials by considering real-time traffic and weather data, Traffic Injury Prevention, Volume 18(3), April 2017, Pages 293-298
- Pavlou D. – Beratis I.N., Papadimitriou E., Andronas N., Kontaxopoulou D., Fragkiadaki S., Yannis G., Papageorgiou S.G. Mild Cognitive Impairment and driving: Does in-vehicle distraction affect driving performance?, Accident Analysis & Prevention, Volume 103, June 2017, Pages 148-155
- Tselentis D., Yannis G., Vlahogianni E., Innovative motor insurance schemes: A review of current practices and emerging challenges, Accident Analysis & Prevention, Volume 98, January 2017, Pages 139-148
- Theofilatos A., Ziakopoulos Α., Papadimitriou Ε., Yannis G., Diamandouros K., Meta-analysis of the effect of road work zones on crash occurrence, Accident Analysis & Prevention, Volume 108, November 2017, Pages 1-8
The Department of Transportation Planning and Engineering of the National Technical University of Athens (NTUA) was ranked 16th in Europe and at 80th place worldwide among all Transportation Science & Technology Schools, according to the ShanghaiRanking’s Global Ranking of Academic Subjects (GRAS) 2019. NTUA Road Safety activities have contributed to this excellent performance. Accordingly, the NTUA Civil Engineering School was ranked 7th worldwide (3rd European) among all Civil Engineering Schools.
The European Traffic Police Network (TISPOL) together with the European Commission DG Move Road Safety Unit have launched the project EDWARD – the European Day Without A Road Death 2019. This year the European Day without a Road Death will take place on Thursday 26 September 2019. Several events, initiatives and promotional activity right across Europe will take place. Moreover, in the EDWARD website lots of new resources can be found, artwork can be downloaded (including images and Infographics), a countdown timer to the day itself, an interactive map and a brand new pledge to sign.
The European Commission – DG Move has published a study titled “Sustainable Transport Infrastructure Charging and Internalisation of Transport Externalities” which aims to assess the extent to which existing policies internalise the external and infrastructure costs of transport and to discuss ways by which further internalisation could be achieved. As input for this assessment, the infrastructure and external costs of the various transport modes are estimated and a comprehensive overview of transport taxes and charges applied in the various countries is provided. According to the study results, the most important cost category is accident costs equating to 29% of the total external costs, which on the contrary of most other costs it is not targeted by any taxes or charges aiming its reduction.
The ESRA Consortium with the support of the Forum of European Road Safety Institutes (FERSI) organised the 2nd ESRA Symposium on Road Users Attitudes Worldwide, which took place with great success in Brussels, on 18 June 2019. New highly interesting results from the ESRA2 Global Survey on Road Users Attitudes, collected at the end of 2018, were showcased, namely thematic reports on speeding, mobile phone use and fatigue together with 32 country fact sheets . NTUA contributed actively with the following presentations:
The European Commission – DG Move has published a Staff Working Document titled “EU Road Safety Policy Framework 2021-2030 – Next steps towards “Vision Zero” which includes details as to how it intends to put its Strategic Action Plan on Road Safety into practice . This Document includes a first list of Road Safety Key Performance Indicators (KPI), elaborated in close cooperation with Member States and the active contribution of NTUA, that will be monitored across the EU to underpin the target of 50% reduction in fatalities and serious injuries by 2030. The list (including indicators like vehicle safety, seat belt and helmet wearing rate, speed compliance and post-crash care) is a living document that will be developed further over time, but first data can be gathered on this basis from next year.
The European Transport Safety Council (ETSC) published the 13th edition of PIN Annual Report , with the active contribution of NTUA, presented at the 2019 Annual PIN Conference which took place with great success on 19 June, 2019 in Brussels. According to this PIN Report, the new European figures show that the number of persons killed last year fell by just 1% and the EU target to cut road deaths in half over the decade to 2020 looks well out of reach.
Ireland was the winner of this year’s ETSC Road Safety Performance Index (PIN) award, being the second safest EU Member State in 2018, in terms of road mortality (road deaths per million inhabitants) and having moved up five places in the ranking of EU countries since 2010 when it held the 7th place.
The 1st newsletter of the Horizon 2020 project Levitate was recently released highlighting the key activities of the first 6 months of the project. It contains an inspiring interview with Rune Elvik, Senior research officer at TØI, suggesting that any progress in Connected and Automated Transport cannot eliminate the human factor. Furthermore, it highlights the results from the first Workshop of the Levitate Stakeholder Group in Gothenburg on May 2019 and of the respective presentation of Levitate project at the scientific Workshop organized by the National Technical University of Athens (NTUA) on ‘Digitalisation and Road Safety Research’ in Athens on May 2019.
The European Commission – DG Move and the Hellenic Ministry of Infrastructure and Transport organised the kick-off meeting of the project ‘EU Road Safety Exchange’ which took place with great success in Athens, on 10 June 2019. ‘EU Road Safety Exchange’ is a three-year twinning project (2019-2021) that supports improved institutional capacity and exchange of knowledge and best practice on road safety topics between EU Member States. The objective of this project is to reduce the overall number of road deaths and serious injuries on EU roads and help close the road safety gap between EU Member States by providing support to those with the highest potential to make significant improvements. NTUA actively contributed at the kick-off meeting with the following presentation: Motorcycle Safety in Greece
A new book titled ‘La sécurité routière en France – Road Safety in France‘ authored by Laurent Carnis, Catherine Gabaude and Marie-Line Gallenne, was published in May 2019. Since the 1970s, road accidents have undergone a remarkable evolution, which has led to fewer fatalities and fewer casualties on French roads. But the accidents remain too numerous and still defeat the chronicles. Greater road safety justifies measures that give rise to lively discussions where everyone claims to be an expert. This book guides the reader through themes such as trauma victims, alcohol or drugs driving.
The 2020 Lifesavers National Conference on Highway Safety Priorities will be held on March 15-17 in Tampa, Florida. The Lifesavers Conference brings together a unique combination of traffic safety and public health professionals, researchers, advocates, practitioners and students committed to sharing best practices, research and policy initiatives that are proven to work.
Tallinn University of Technology (TTU) is organising the 2nd Conference “Vision Zero for Sustainable Road Safety in the Baltic Sea Region 2019” which is going to take place in Tallinn, Estonia, on 4 – 5 December 2019. This conference is a fantastic opportunity for academicians and practitioners to meet and exchange experiences and to learn from the best within road safety including policy, road infrastructure, behavioural aspects and human factors, innovations of vehicles and transportation modes, individual, organizational and political aspects of road safety.
A paper titled “Safety Culture among Private and Professional Drivers in Norway and Greece: Examining the Influence of National Road Safety Culture” authored by Tor-Olav Nævestad, Alexandra Laiou, Ross O. Phillips, Torkel Bjørnskau and George Yannis is now published in Safety Journal. This study investigates road safety culture (RSC) as an explanation for this discrepancy by: (1) Comparing the road safety behaviours among professional and private drivers in Norway and Greece, (2) Examining factors influencing road safety behaviours, focusing especially on national road safety culture, and (3) Examining the influence of road safety behaviours and other factors (e.g., demographic and work-related variables) on accident involvement. The results indicate that aggressive violations are more similar among private and professional drivers within the national samples, than across the national samples, while seat belt use seems to vary according to the professional versus private dimension.
The European Transport Safety Council (ETSC) has published the 37th PIN Flash Report “How to improve urban road safety in the EU“, with the active contribution of NTUA. This Report analyses the latest data urban road safety across the EU and other countries that form part of the ETSC Road Safety Performance Index (PIN) programme, and it conclude with more than twenty main recommendations for action at EU. It is highlighted that the problems can be addressed with the right political leadership, resources and energy. But while the EU, national governments and other actors can help provide the knowledge, finance and guidelines to implement the necessary changes, it will often be up to local authorities to implement them effectively. A comprehensive infographic depicts current urban road safety in Europe, with Pedestrians, Motorcyclists and Cyclists accounting for 70% of all urban road fatalities.
The next edition of the Transport Research Arena Conference (TRA 2020) organised by the European Commisison and the European transport research platforms (ACARE, ALICE, CEDR, ECTP, ERRAC, ERTRAC, ETRA, Waterborne), will take place in Helsinki, Finland from 26-30th April 2020, themed “Rethinking transport – towards clean and inclusive mobility”. Since 2006, TRA is the major European bi-annual transport research event bringing together experts, authorities, industry and all stakeholders to discuss on the newest innovations and the future of mobility and transport and to foster a Europe-wide transformation in all transport modes.
- Submissions for the Journal Track (full papers) until the 16th of June
- Submissions for the Conference track (short papers) until the 30th of June
Vlaamse Stichting Verkeerskunde (VSV) in cooperation with Flanders, Road Safety GB, UHasselt, ETSC and Polis organized a European Road Safety Summer School which took place with great success in Mechelen, Belgium, on 26-30 August 2019, targeting road safety professionals. The schedule of the Summer School for these 5 days included key topics on: a) road safety vision and strategy, b) education, awareness raising and infrastructure, c) technologies, enforcement and integrated policy, d) technical site visits.
The 15th World Conference on Transport Research (WCTR) which was organized by the WCTRS and the Indian Institute of Technology Bombay (IIT Bombay) took place with great success on 26-31 May, 2019 at Mumbai, India. For the last 40 years, WCTR has been organised every three years by the WCTR Society. WCTR allowed sharing cutting-edge research and advanced state-of-practice and provided a unique opportunity for experts to exchange ideas in all areas of transport research including Traffic Safety Analysis and Policy (C4 Special Interest Group). NTUA contributed with nine presentations:
- Investigating the Correlation between Driver’s Characteristics and Safety Performance
- Investigation of the correlation between stated and revealed driving behaviour using data collected from on-board diagnostics (OBD) devices
- Driving speed model development using driving data obtained from smartphone sensors
- Hybrid Data Envelopment Analysis for Large-Scale Smartphone Data Modeling
- How unexpected events affect lateral position variability?
- Impacts of large urban regeneration projects: The case of the new Athens Intercity Bus Terminal
- Development a Sustainable Mobility Action Plan for University Campuses
- Future trends in transport workforce based on demographic, behavioural, cultural and socioeconomic factors
- Identifying infrastructure risk factors in Africa
Weather is an environmental risk factor that affects collision and casualty rates. Weather conditions partly determine the road conditions and the driver’s behaviour. Bad weather encompasses: fog or mist, rain, snow, sleet, hail, strong wind, and high temperatures. In Europe, 1,4% of total fatalities are due to fog or mist, 8,6% by rain, 0,8% by snow, sleet or hail, 0,6% by strong wind (European Commission – Annual Accident Report, 2018).
Why driving in bad weather is dangerous?
Effects of bad weather:
- Vehicle contact with the road. The more rain, snow, or hail falls, the less the friction of the road surface (lower ability to brake and control the vehicle).
- Reduction in visibility of the road and other road users, because of the fog or the reflection of the sunlight by the wet road surface
- Behavioural changes such as more cautious driving
- Gusts of wind can push relatively high vehicles
- Emotions rise with the temperature, people are more irritable to others, they get tired, lose their concentration, and their reaction time increases
There is a clear need for drivers to improve their behaviour in bad weather conditions. How?
- Maintain a significant distance between you and the car in front of you!
- Use your turn signals early! Give cars behind you plenty of notice that you’ll be slowing down to make a turn.
- Use the white line on the right side of the road! This will help guide you and keep you in your lane.
- Turn on your fog lights both for the front and the rear side of your vehicle.
- Keep a good distance from the car in front of you! Having to slam on your brakes can result in skidding. It takes longer to stop when driving in wet weather.
- Turn on your headlights! They will not only help you see, but will make sure you’re visible to other drivers.
- Drive in the middle lanes! Water is more likely to pool on the outer edges of the road.
- Try and avoid puddles. Driving over puddles of water can cause your car to hydroplane out of control. It’s helpful to drive in the tracks of the car in front of you.
- Defog your windows! Use the front and rear defrosters to maximize visibility.
- Consider snow tires! Tires are an essential factor in winter driving because they keep your car firmly connected to the road.
- Know your brakes! Your car will perform differently in the snow than it would on a dry road.
- Keep Rolling! Don’t stop on ice or snow if you can avoid it
- Take corners slowly! Give yourself plenty of time to slow down before turning.
- Accelerate gradually! Your tires are likely to spin in place if you try to accelerate too quickly.
- Beware of black ice! Black ice – a thin layer of transparent ice on a roadway – can cause your car to spin out and you can quickly lose control.
Seat belts are an effective way of reducing the number or road deaths and severe road injuries in crashes. According to the 2018 WHO Global status report on road safety, wearing a seat-belt reduces the risk of a fatality among front seat passengers by 40-50% and among rear-seat passengers by 25-75%. Failure to wear a seat belt is the 2nd biggest cause of road death, after speeding but ahead of drink-driving. European Commission suggests that action targeting the use of seat belts could save up to 7.300 lives a year in the EU.
Effects of wearing a seat belt
- Not wearing a seat belt can result in being totally ejected from the vehicle in a crash, which is almost always deadly.
- The air bag can seriously injure or even kill you if you’re not wearing a seat belt. Air bags are designed to work with seat belts, not replace.
Why not wearing a seat-belt is dangerous?
Passengers who are not wearing seat-belts at the time of a collision account for the majority of occupant road traffic fatalities. Seat belts are the best defense against impaired, aggressive, and distracted drivers. Being buckled up during a crash helps keep you safe and secure inside your vehicle.
Guidelines to buckle up safely
- The lap belt and shoulder belt are secured across the pelvis and rib cage, which are better able to withstand crash forces than other parts of your body.
- Place the shoulder belt across the middle of your chest and away from your neck.
- The lap belt rests across your hips, not your stomach.
- NEVER put the shoulder belt behind your back or under an arm.
There is a clear need for drivers to remember to wear their seat belt. How?
- Buckle up! No excuses…
- Listen! Most cars signal the driver and passengers to buckle up when the key is put into the ignition
- You must wear a seat belt either you are not going far or not traveling fast, most fatal crashes happen within 25 miles of home at speeds of less than 60 km/h.
- If you drive an older or classic car with lap belts only, check with your vehicle manufacturer about how to retrofit your car with today’s safer lap/shoulder belts.
Distracted drivers aren’t just a threat to themselves: they’re a danger to everyone else on the road. The mobile phone is symbolic of ‘distraction in traffic’. Texting (and navigating on the phone) is the most alarming distraction. Since our mental capacity is limited, we can only pay attention to a part of our environment. A road user should first and foremost be focused on traffic. Distracted driving encompasses: Reading and sending text messages and typing or updating a social network site
Effects of distracted driving
- Worse braking reaction time
- Worse reaction to traffic signals
- Difficulty in keeping the correct lane
- Difficulty in keeping the correct headway distance
- Drivers zigzag more
Why distracted driving is dangerous?
Drivers using mobile phones are approximately 4 times more likely to be involved in a crash than drivers not using a mobile phone. Using a cell phone while driving creates enormous potential for deaths and injuries on roads. Distraction affects a number of essential aspects of driving skills. Sending or reading a text takes your eyes off the road for 5 seconds. At 80kph, that’s like driving the length of an entire football field with your eyes closed.
More texting = higher probability of a crash
- Driver more likely to lose control
- Less time to take preventive action
- Less accurately reaction to deceleration by the driver in front
- Difficulty in keeping their lane
There is a clear need for drivers to avoid using their mobile phones while driving. How?
- Turn your cell on “silent” (and keep vibrate off)!
- Keep the phone out of sight and reach! Having the volume and vibrate feature off may not be enough.
- Completely turn your cell phone off!
- Pull over and stop if it is important to answer a call!
- Parents lead by example – It’s not an age or experience issue, it is a safety and distracted driving issue!
The concepts of “fatigue”, “sleepiness” and “drowsiness” are often used interchangeably. Sleepiness is an aspect of fatigue which is perhaps easiest to define. Sleepiness can be defined as the neurobiological need to sleep, resulting from physiological wake and sleep drives. Driving fatigue is associated with increased crash risk which often results from a combination of biological, lifestyle-related and work-related factors. Crashes in which driver fatigue plays a role are not only a matter of having spent too long behind the wheel; fatigue can also be caused by too little sleep, stress, or the time of the day.
- Fatigue has a physical and a mental aspect.
- Fatigue is associated with both reduced capacity to perform and motivation to perform.
- Although sleepiness and fatigue may have different causes, their effects on performance and motivation are similar, a decrease in mental and physical functioning.
- When fatigued, persons may alternate normal functioning with short lapses in performance (i.e. not noticing or responding to signals). The long term result of fatigue is an increasing variability of performance.
Why fatigue is dangerous?
Driving fatigue is a major factor in 10-20% of road crashes. A person who drives after being awake for 17 hours has a risk of crashing equivalent to being at the level of 0.05 blood alcohol concentration (i.e. twice the normal risk).
More tired/sleepy = higher probability of a crash
- Increase of the task demands (e.g. driving faster so that a ‘new’ sensation of driving raises adrenaline and attention levels)
- Reduction of the task demands (e.g. increase of the safety margins by slowing down or using longer headways)
- Driver more likely to lose control
- Less time to take preventive action
- Less accurately reaction to deceleration by the driver in front
- Difficulty in keeping the vehicle in the lane
There is a clear need for drivers to avoid driving fatigue. How?
- Avoid driving at times when you would normally be asleep!
- The moment fatigue sets in, do not start driving or continue driving!
- Take a nap or ask a passenger to take over the driving task!
- Allow fresh air into the car (by opening the window or switching on the air conditioning)
- Talk to a passenger!
- Stop driving for some food or exercise!
- Turn up the volume of the music!
 NCSCR/NHTSA Expert panel on driver fatigue and sleepiness (2001) Drowsy driving and automobile crashes
 Johns, M.W. (2000) A sleep physiologist’s view of drowsy driving. Transportation Research Part F, 3, pp. 241-249