A report on Prioritising the Safety Potential of Automated Driving in Europe is now released by the European Transport Safety Council (ETSC). Automated driving technologies are already preventing collisions and deaths on our roads. The purpose of the report is to give an overview of automated driving, identify the main safety benefits and offer some key recommendations for the near future for the EU and its Member States to create a regulatory environment that prioritises safety.
The Road Safety Unit of DG Move of the European Commission has recently released a Report titled ‘Risks and countermeasures for road traffic of elderly in Europe’ prepared with the active contribution ofIMOB, NTUA, LAB and ERF.
The purpose of this Report was to provide a comprehensive view on the situation of elderly road users in traffic and to provide an action plan containing recommendations for the most promising measures to be taken at the EU-level in the light of developing a proactive strategy to enhance the road safety of the elderly in the (near) future. This strategy is developed by:
A paper titled ‘Towards an integrated approach of pedestrian behaviour and exposure’ authored by Eleonora Papadimitriou is now published in Accident Analysis & Prevention. An integrated methodology for the analysis of pedestrian behaviour and exposure is proposed. The paper builds on existing research on pedestrian exposure, namely the Routledge microscopic indicator, and uses integrated choice and latent variables (ICLV) models of pedestrian behaviour, taking into account road, traffic and human factors. The method is tested with data from a field survey in Athens, Greece, which used pedestrian behaviour observations as well as a questionnaire on human factors of pedestrian behaviour. The results suggest that both pedestrian behaviour and exposure are largely defined by a small number of factors: road type, traffic volume and pedestrian risk-taking. The probability for risk-taking behaviour and the related exposure decrease in less demanding road and traffic environments. A synthesis of the results reveals conditions of increased risk exposure: principal urban arterials (where risk-taking behaviour is low but the related exposure is very high) and minor arterials (where risk-taking behaviour is more frequent, and the related exposure is still high). A “paradox” of increased risk-taking behaviour of pedestrians with low exposure is found, suggesting that these pedestrians may compensate in moderate traffic conditions due to their increased walking speed.
A paper titled ‘Relating traffic fatalities to GDP in Europe on the long term‘ with emphassis to turbulent financial situations, co-authored by Costas Antoniou, George Yannis, Eleonora Papadimitriou and Sylvain Lassarre is now published in Accident Analysis & Prevention. For this analysis, time series of the number of fatalities and GDP in 30 European countries for a period of 38 years (1975–2012) were exploited. This process relies on estimating long-term models (as captured by long term time-series models, which model each country separately). Based on these developments, utilizing state-of-the-art modelling and analysis techniques such as the Common Correlated Effects Mean Group estimator (Pesaran), the long-term elasticity mean value equals 0.63, and is significantly different from zero for 10 countries only. When we take away the countries, where the number of fatalities is stationary, the average elasticity takes a higher value of nearly 1. This shows the strong sensitivity of the estimate of the average elasticity over a panel of European countries and underlines the necessity to be aware of the underlying nature of the time series, to get a suitable regression model.
The European Transport Safety Council (ETSC) has just published the 30th PIN Flash Report ‘How safe are new cars sold in the EU?‘. In the last decade the long term road safety trend has been positive across the EU countries, and although the reduction in deaths may be a result of many factors, including better enforcement, changing behaviour and safer infrastructure, there is little doubt thatimproved vehicle safety standards since the late 1990’s have played an important role. One important indicator of the level of vehicle safety in Europe overall is what proportion of the number of tested vehicles actually sold meet Euro NCAP’s highest safety ratings. The last assessment of the progress of the Euro NCAP programme carried out by ETSC in 2009 found that there were very significant differences between the average Euro NCAP rating of new cars sold in Eastern and Central European countries, compared to their Western European counterparts.
The World Road Association (PIARC) has recently released a Report titled ‘Improving safety in road tunnels through real-time communication with users‘. This report is a continuation of the one published by PIARC in 2008 on ‘Human Factors and road tunnel safety regarding users‘. It describes human behavioural aspects when driving, andhow to communicate information to tunnel users in normal, congested and critical situations. It details the various systems that can be activated for real-time communication with users and reviews how these devices can be used in cases of congestion, a serious incident and fire and how the activation of these systems and devices must be adapted to the changing circumstances of the event.
Which are the effects of driver distraction and brain pathologies on reaction time and accident risk? – 2016
A paper titled “Which are the effects of driver distraction and brain pathologies on reaction time and accident risk?” authored by Dimosthenis Pavlou, Panagiotis Papantoniou, Eleonora Papadimitriou, Sophia Vardaki, George Yannis, Costas Antoniou, John Golias and Sokratis G. Papageorgiou is now published in Advances in Transportation Studies an international Journal. A driving simulator experiment with 140 participants (out of which 109 were patients) was carried out by an interdisciplinary research team of neurologists, neuropsychologists and transportation engineers. The brain pathologies examined include early Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, and Mild Cognitive Impairment. A statistical analysis was carried out by means of mixed generalized linear modelling and the results indicated significant differences between the driving performance of healthy drivers and patients. Patients with cerebral diseases reacted significantly slower at unexpected incidents than the healthy ones and were more likely to be involved in an accident. The mobile phone use had a significant negative effect on both reaction time and accident probability.
The Road Safety Unit of DG Move of the European Commission published recently the 2015 Edition of the EU Road Safety Country Overviews with the active contribution of NTUA, KFV and ERF. The EU Road Safety Country Overviews are based on most recent disaggregate data for all EU countries from theCARE Database of the European Commission as well as on structured information gathered from the EU Member States.
These Road Safety Country Overviews consist of five analysis sections (Social costs, Number killed and injured, Safety performance indicators, Safety measures and programmes, Structure and culture) and one synthesis section providing a comprehensive picture of current road safety facts and challenges in each EU country.
The World Road Association (PIARC) has recently launched the updated electronic encyclopedia called ‘Road Tunnels Manual‘ focusing exclusively on all the aspects linked to the use of road tunnels (geometry, tunnel equipment and maintenance, operations, safety, environment).
The PIARC Road Tunnels Manual comprises two principal parts: the part ‘Transverse aspects‘ containing 5 chapters and considering general aspects of road tunnels and the part ‘Operational and Safety Requirements‘ containing 4 chapters and addressing particular elements of tunnels taking these requirements into consideration. The Manual ends with a Glossary which describes 200 terms and definitions translated into twenty languages. PIARC Road Tunnel Manual is available in 10 languages.
The World Road Association (PIARC) has recently launched the electronic manual on Road Network Operations & Intelligent Transport Systems. The manual is a comprehensive, regularly updated handbook helping practitioners to alleviate road congestion, a major worldwide issue that directly affects the economies of many nations.
Road Network Operations (RNO) concern the methods at the disposal of road authorities and highway infrastructure operators that contribute to safer and more efficient travel for road users and for society as a whole. Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS) concern a wide range of services that use information and communications technology that can improve transportation and mobility.
A report on the European facts and the Global status report on road safety 2015 has now been published by World Health Organisation (WHO). In 2013, almost85.000 people died from road-traffic injuries in the WHO European Region. Although the regional mortality rate is the lowest among WHO regions (9.3 deaths per 100 000 population), the rates of road traffic deaths vary widely in between European countries. More systematic efforts are needed if the global target of a 50% reduction in road crash deaths is to be achieved by 2020. NTUA contributed to the peer review of this Report.
UNECE has published a Report covering in detail the 11 goals that have been derived from the five pillars of the Global Plan to form its strategic approach to road safety during the Decade. It provides a comprehensive overview, including the status and key results of its goals, as well as descriptions of specific UNECE ITC initiatives and information on the challenges the overall road safety community faces. One of the main conclusions of this report is that political will and the introduction and use of national strategies are likely to be the difference makers in helping to reach the main goal: halving the number of road traffic deaths and injuries by 2020.
A paper titled ‘Introducing human factors in pedestrian crossing behaviour models‘ co-authored by Eleonora Papadimitriou, Sylvain Lassarre and George Yannis is now published in the Transportation Research Part F: Traffic Psychology and Behaviour. A field survey was carried out, in which a panel of 75 pedestrians were asked to take 8 short walking trips (each one corresponding to a different walking and crossing scenario) in the Athens city centre in Greece, allowing to record their crossing behaviour in different road and traffic conditions. The same individuals were asked to fill in a questionnaire on their travel motivations, their mobility characteristics, their risk perceptions and preferences with respect to walking and road crossing, their opinion on drivers, etc. The walking and crossing scenarios’ data were used to develop mixed sequential logit models of pedestrian behaviour on the basis of road and traffic characteristics. The modelling results showed that pedestrian crossing choices are significantly affected by road type, traffic flow and traffic control. The questionnaire data were used to estimate human factors (components) of pedestrian crossing behaviour by means of principal component analysis. The results showed that three components of pedestrian crossing behaviour emerge, namely a “risk-taking and optimisation” component reflecting the tendency to cross at mid-block in order to save time, etc., a “conservative” component, concerning individuals with increased perceived risk of mid-block crossing, who also appear to be frequent public transport users, and a “pedestrian for pleasure” component, bringing together frequent pedestrians, walking for health or pleasure, etc. The introduction of these components as explanatory variables into the choice models resulted in improvement of the modelling results, indicating that human factors have additional explanatory power over road and traffic factors of pedestrian behaviour.
The European Parliament’s Committee on Transport and Tourism has recently published a study prepared by the UK Transport Research Laboratory on the Impact of Higher or Lower Weight and Volume of Cars on Road Safety, particularly for Vulnerable Users. The study provides ananalysis of necessary technological changes, in order to improve the impact of higher or lower weight and volume of cars on road safety, particularly for, but not limited to vulnerable users.
The International Road Federation (IRF) and Patron Sponsor Michelin released recently the World Road Statistics (WRS), featuring more than 200 countries, with data on over 45 road related topics (data 2008-2013) presented in nine substantive sections: country profiles, road networks, road traffic, multimodal traffic comparisons, vehicles in use, road accidents, motor vehicles, road expenditures and energy.
The IRF World Road Statistics (WRS) continue to be a unique comprehensive, universal source of statistical data on road networks, traffic and inland transport, proved to be an invaluable and internationally accepted reference tool for governments, NGOs, investments banks, research institutes and anyone analyzing and reporting trends in key subject areas like traffic volumes and vehicle usage, road expenditure, road safety, energy consumption and emissions.
A Diploma Thesis titled ‘Investigation of driver’s behaviour using vehicle diagnostics‘ was presented by Eustratios Saplaouras in November 2015, with the support and data from OSeven Telematics. The aim of this Diploma Thesis is to investigate the driver’s behavior through the on-board diagnostics of the vehicle. A large data set was exploited, which were recorded per second and concerned the exact position of the vehicle, its speed, the spots where the driver was performing a sudden change of speed or a sudden maneuver, the fuel consumption, etc. Mathematical statistical models were developed using linear and binary logistic regression. The results demonstrated a strong correlation between over-speeding and driver harsh behavior, although the two dimensions are disproportionate, as well as the occurrence of higher driving speeds during risky hours (00:00-04:00).
The Road Safety Unit of DG Move of the European Commission has recently released a Report titled ‘Study on good practices for reducing road safety risks caused by road user distractions’ prepared by TRL, TNO and RAPPTrans. The study concluded that 10-30% of road accidents in the EU could have distraction as a contributory factor, although limitations of both data and their definitions mean that this figure requires further validation.
The Study identified a series of countermeasures that can be used to address driver distraction, including non-technology-based approaches
The Private Sector Global Coalition Together for Safer Roads (TSR) composed by 11 leading global companies has recently published a White Paper titled “Investing in Road Safety – A global imperative for the private sector“, setting the orientations and priorities of the TSR Coalition for advancing road safety in the world. This White Paper was prepared by the TSR’s Expert Panel composed by international road safety experts, with the active participation of NTUA Prof. George Yannis.
In this White Paper, TSR’s Expert Panel assesses progress since the United Nations General Assembly established theUnited Nations Decade of Action for Road Safety in 2010,identifies gaps, and discusses the role of the private sector in advancing road safety. The role of the Global private sector Coalition is seen under three perspectives: as collaborators with the public sector and NGOs in demonstration projects; as managers of vehicle fleets traversing the world’s roads; and as participants in specific industries that have unique opportunities to improve road safety. With the United Nations Decade of Action for Road Safety at its midpoint, business has an opportunity to drive a groundswell of meaningful cross-sector action and help save millions of lives.
Athanasios Theofilatos has successfully defended his PhD thesis titled: An advanced multi-faceted statistical analysis of accident probability and severity exploiting high resolution traffic and weather data. This PhD thesis was carried out at the Department of Transportation Planning and Engineering at the School of Civil Engineering of the National Technical University of Athens under the supervision of Prof. George Yannis.
The objective of this PhD thesis is the investigation of accident probability and severity exploiting high resolution traffic and weather data from urban roads and motorways, collected on a real-time basis, with specific focus on Powered-Two-Wheelers. For that purpose, an advanced mesoscopic multi-faceted statistical analysis was conducted in order to expand previous road safety work and contribute to the further understanding of the complexity of accident probability and severity. Linear and non-linear models were developed on the basis of 6-year accident data from urban roads as well as an urban motorway in Greater Athens area (Attica Tollway). Empirical findings indicate that high resolution traffic and weather data are capable of opening new dimensions in accident analysis in urban roads and urban motorways. The multi-faceted statistical analysis conducted in the thesis has revealed a consistent and strong impact of traffic parameters on accident probability and severity. It is interesting that weather parameters were not found to influence accident probability and severity when linear relationships are considered, however, the application of cusp catastrophe models demonstrated that it is likely that even small traffic and weather changes may have a critical impact on road safety in urban roads as sudden transitions from safe to unsafe conditions (and vice versa) may occur, especially for PTW traffic.
The World Road Association (PIARC) has recently published the long waited second edition of the Road Safety Manual. The PIARC Road Safety Manual is aligned with key pillars of the United Nations Decade of Action for Road Safety 2011-2020 (1: Road Safety Management, 2: Safer Roads and Mobility and 4: Safer Road Users) and isdesigned to assist countries at every stage of infrastructure development and to fulfill road safety objectives. This comprehensive resource builds on the broad range of knowledge and experience provided by PIARC in the first edition. It includes new thinking on road safety and offers a clear argument on why adopting a Safe System approach is crucial for each country. The Safe System approach aims for a more forgiving road system that takes human fallibility and vulnerability into account. Under the Safe System approach, everyone (public agencies, automobile manufacturers, road users, enforcement officials, and others) must share the responsibility for road safety outcomes.
The European Road Federation (ERF) launched recently its Position Paper towards improving Traffic Signs in European Roads: “Improved Signage for better Roads“. This Position Paper advocates for authorities to avoid or tackle the over-proliferation of traffic signs and to ensure that those installed display a clear message, in order to achieve better road safety and traffic flow, and good use of public resources. Road authorities need to set a multiannual maintenance action plan. The need to adapt to the needs of an ageing driver population, by introducing a minimum maintenance standards for safety critical signs under the Vienna Convention is highlighted. This position paper calls for all stakeholders involved to examine the benefits of greater harmonisation of signs within the Vienna Convention to maximise the safety benefits of new vehicle technologies as well as to provide for a more familiar environment for increasing cross-border traffic volumes.
The International Transport Forum (ITF) has recently released a Research Report on Improving Safety for Motorcycle, Scooter and Moped Riders. This Report summarises the findings of the work of the Working Group on the Safety of Powered Two Wheelers set up by ITF in 2010 aiming to review trends in powered two-wheeler crashes and examine the factors contributing to these crashes and their severity. In this Report are presented in a consolidated way, a set of countermeasures targeting user behaviour, the use of protective equipment, the vehicles and the infrastructure and discussion on motorcycle safety strategies in the context of a Safe System approach. NTUA has contributed actively to the preparation of this Report.
The International Road Traffic and Accident Database Group (IRTAD) of the International Transport Forum (ITF/OECD) published a Report on Why Does Road Safety Improve When Economic Times Are Hard?. In this Report previous studies were reviewed and new ones are presented demonstrating that there is clear evidence that when economic growth declines, and particularly when unemployment increases, road safety improves, particularly among young people.
Furthermore it was found that the economic downturn in 2009-10 may well have contributed to about two-thirds of the decrease in road fatalities since 2008. It is suggested that policy makers need to take careful account of these results when setting up road safety targets and when designing road safety strategies for the future. NTUA has contributed actively to the preparation of this Report.
The International Road Traffic and Accident Database (IRTAD) of the International Transport Forum (ITF/OECD) published a Report on Road Infrastructure Safety Management (RISM), that describes in a comprehensive way the most consolidated RISM procedures, analyses their use worldwide, identifies possible weaknesses and barriers to their implementation, provides example of good practices and aims to generally contribute to the scientific assessment of RISM procedures. The RISM procedures considered concern: Road Safety Impact Assessment, Road Safety Measures Efficiency Assessment Tools, Road Safety Audit, Network Operation, Road Safety Performance Indicators, Network Safety Ranking, Road Assessment Programme, Road Safety Inspection, High-Risk Sites and Road Accident In-Depth Investigation.
This report is considered of high interest for the decision makers, scientists and practicioners in the field of road infrastructure safety management. NTUA has contributed actively to the preparation of this Report.
The International Road Traffic and Accident Database (IRTAD) of the International Transport Forum (ITF/OECD) published recently the full version of the Annual Report 2015, which comprises a synthesis of the main trends and road safety indicators for the year 2013 and preliminary data for the year 2014. It presents longer-term trends in order to better understand the developments taking place in the different countries.
The number of road fatalities fell by 4.3% between 2013 and 2012 in the 32 IRTAD member countries with verified data. The long-term trend shows a very significant decrease of 42% between 2000 and 2013 in the IRTAD countries, however great disparities between countries persist. Detailed validated reports for each country are illustrated in the full version of the IRTAD Annual Report. NTUA has contributed to the detailed report for Greece.
A paper titled ‘Assessment of Driving Simulator Studies on Driver Distraction‘ co-authored by Panagiotis Papantoniou, Eleonora Papadimitriou and George Yannis is now published in Advances in Transportation Studies Journal. The objective of this research is the critical assessment of driving simulator studies on driver distraction. For this purpose 45 scientific papers have been examined with respect to the design of driving simulator experiments on the effects of various sources of driver distraction (in-vehicle or external). Through this analysis it appears that the most common distraction sources examined are visual distraction and cell phone use, while other sources of distraction have received notably less attention in existing studies. The simulated road environment of most experiments was rural, whereas far less is known on the effects of distraction in urban areas; furthermore, ambient traffic is not explicitly simulated and the effect of traffic flow on distracted driving may be a key question for further investigation. Finally, driver distraction is expressed by a number of measurements, in terms of its impact to driver attention (hands-off the wheel, eyes-off the road), driver behaviour (vehicle speed, headway, lateral position, driver reaction time) and driver accident risk. Although these different measurements describe different aspects of the distracted driving mechanism, it would be important to focus on the most sensitive ones, keeping in mind the entire chain of distracted driving causes and impacts, in order to significantly enhance the potential of exploitation of the results of existing studies.
Exploring the association between working memory and driving performance in Parkinson’s disease 2015
A paper titled ‘Exploring the association between working memory and driving performance in Parkinson’s disease‘ co-authored by Sofia Vardaki, Hannes Devos, Ion Beratis, George Yannis and Sokratis Papageorgiou is now published in Traffic Injury Prevention. The aim of this study was toexplore whether varying levels of operational and tactical driving task demand differentially affect drivers with Parkinson’s disease (PD) and control drivers in their sign recall. Drivers of the control group performed better than drivers with PD in a sign recall task, but this trend was not statistically significant (p = 0.43). Also, regardless of group membership, subjects’ performance differed according to varying levels of task demand. Performance in the sign recall task was more likely to drop with increasing task demand (p = 0.03).This difference was significant when the variation in task demand was associated with a cognitive task, i.e., when drivers were required to apply the instructions from working memory. Although the conclusions drawn from this study are tentative, the evidence presented here is encouraging with regard to the use of a driving simulator to examine isolated cognitive functions underlying driving performance in PD. With an understanding of its limitations, such driving simulation in combination with functional assessment batteries measuring physical, visual and cognitive abilities could comprise one component of a multi-tiered system to evaluate medical fitness to drive.
Road safety targets were agreed at the UN negotiations for the Global Sustainable Development Goals (to be formally approved in September). More precisely, aspecific stand-alone target (3.6) in the Health Goal (3) to reduce road traffic fatalities by 50% by 2020and a target on sustainable urban transport (11.2) in the Cities Goal (11) have been approved, in a landmark achievement for the global road safety community.
A new book titled ‘Why Young People Drink: An analysis of the determinants of youth drinking behaviour‘ authored by Dr. Jean-Pascal Assailly, Researcher at the French Institute of Sciences & Technology for Transport (IFSTTAR), is now available. Young people’s alcohol misuse has become an important concern in many countries as the consequences of this phenomenon are multiple, among which traffic accidents. This book is a comprehensive, encyclopaedic overview of the underpinnings of alcohol use in adolescents and state-of-the-art adapted prevention and treatment strategies.
A Diploma Thesis titled ‘Investigation of the impact of roadside advertising to driver behaviour and safety in cities with the use of driving simulator‘ was presented by Anastasia Gkouskou in July 2015. An experimental process on a driving simulator was carried out, in which all participants drove in specially selected driving scenarios. Regression statistical models were developed to investigate the impact of roadside advertising on the mean speed and the lateral position of the vehicle from the right borderline (lognormal) and on the mean reaction time (linear). The models’ application demonstrated thatroadside advertising leads to small increase of the mean reaction time and the mean lateral position of the vehicle from the right borderline. At the same time, it leads to small decrease of the mean speed, perhaps due to overloaded driving environment. Finally, roadside advertising appears to have no effect on the headway distance and the probability of getting involved in an accident.
A new Guide titled ‘Cities Safer by Design‘ has recently been published by the World Resources Institute. It is a is a Global Reference Guide to assist cities save lives from traffic fatalities through improved street design and smart urban development, that taps examples from cities worldwide and includes 34 different design elements to improve safety and quality of life.
The Road Safety Foundation has released a report titled ‘Engineering Safer Roads – Star Rating roads for in-built safety‘. Previous annual launches of Risk Mapping and Performance Tracking results have prompted the questions:
A paper titled ‘Assessing Selected Cognitive Impairments Using a Driving Simulator: A Focused Review‘ co-authored by Vardaki Sophia, George Yannis and Sokratis Papageorgiou is now published in Advances in Transportation Studies. The paper offers a focused review of studies investigating driving performance as assessed on simulators, targeting cognitive impairments which are age-related or caused by neuro-degenerative disorders, including mild cognitive impairment (MCI), Alzheimer’s disease (AD), Parkinson’s disease (PD) and stroke. The paper references selected findings highlighting what they reveal about several key methodological issues: gauging task demands in relation to actual driving; how differences in cognitive ability affect performance, and how this varies for different driving tasks; issues related to scenario design, such as simulator limitations, scenario authoring and simulated driving tasks; the need to develop operational definitions and comparability; limitations that affect the generalizability of simulator studies; the simulator adaptation syndrome; the bias in performance assessment that can result when drivers have not adequately adapted to the simulator; and driving simulator validation. The issues covered would help readers recognize the many confounding variables and sources of measurement error that can flaw research of this type, and their implications for future investigations.
The Traffic Injury Research Foundation (TIRF) has recently released the report ‘Road Safety Campaigns – What the Research Tells Us‘. This report represents the first phase of a two-phase project that has been conducted by the Traffic Injury Research Foundation (TIRF) with funding from the Canadian Automobile Association (CAA). Road safety campaigns are one of the most popular and flexible tools to encourage behaviour change and improve road safety.
This very interesting report contains an overview of leading theories that provide the foundation for road safety campaigns. It is combined with a comprehensive summary of the research evidence related to the effectiveness of road safety campaigns generally, and examples of individual campaign evaluations from North America and Europe regarding drinking and driving, distracted driving, seatbelt use, speeding and vulnerable road users. It also highlights what is known about learning styles based on educational theories and shares recommendations to help communities develop effective road safety campaigns.
A paper titled ‘Good Practices on Cost – Effective Road Infrastructure Safety Investments‘ co-authored by Eleonora Papadimitriou, George Yannis and Petros Evgenikos is published in the International Journal of Injury Control and Safety Promotion. The paper presents the findings of research aiming to quantify and subsequently classify several infrastructure-related road safety measures, based on the international experience attained through extensive and selected literature review and additionally on a full consultation process including questionnaire surveys addressed to experts and relevant workshops. The results suggest that the overall cost effectiveness of a road safety infrastructure investment is not always in direct correlation with the safety effect and is recommended that cost-benefit ratios and safety effects are always examined in conjunction with each other in order to identify the optimum solution for a specific road safety problem in specific conditions and with specific objectives.
A report on ‘Managing Young Drivers at Work‘ has recently been published by ETSC. Evidence shows that young people have the highest collision involvement of any road user group. Approximately one in four young people who die within Europe’s borders do so as a result of a road collision. This report looks into the direct and indirect factors associated with higher collision rates of young drivers at work and makes recommendations on how to assess and mitigate the specific risks associated with this group.
The European Transport Safety Council (ETSC) has just published the PIN Flash Report ‘Making walking and cycling on Europe’s Roads Safer‘, with the contribution of NTUA.Around 138,400 pedestrians and cyclists lost their lives on EU roads between 2001 and 2013. Deaths of unprotected road users have been decreasing at a slower rate than those of vehicle occupants. In the last ten years deaths among pedestrians decreased by 41%, those among cyclists by 37% and those among power two wheeler (PTW) users by 34% compared to a 53% decrease for vehicle occupants. Since 2010 the reduction in the number of pedestrian and cyclist deaths has slowed down markedly. The safety of unprotected road users should therefore receive special attention from policymakers at the national and European levels.
The European Commission has recently released a report titled ‘Benefit and feasibility of a range of new technologies and unregulated measures in the field of vehicle occupant safety and protection of vulnerable road users‘ prepared by Transport Research Laboratory (TRL). The report names technologies including Intelligent Speed Assistance (ISA), Automated Emergency Braking (AEB) and seat belt reminder systems in passenger seats as ‘feasible in terms of the technology required’, already available on the market and offering a positive benefit-cost ratio.
The RIDERSCAN project, a project co-funded by theEuropean Commission and coordinated by the Federation of European Motorcyclists’ Associations (FEMA), is now completed, gathering existing information on motorcycle safety in Europe, identifying needs for action and creating a crossborder knowledge-based network. All project Deliverables are now available , including comprehensive Country Facts Sheets andRecommendations for policy actions. NTUA contributed to the various activities of the RIDERSCAN project.
A NEW three-year strategic plan has recently been published by TISPOL. The plan sets out how TISPOL will play its part in reducing deaths, serious injuries and crimes on Europe’s roads, and in so doing will be the most effective police road safety network in the world. Four strategic objectives form the centrepiece of the plan:
– A safer road network for all users
– Detecting and preventing crime on the road network within Europe
– Engaging in effective partnership activity
– Ensuring an efficient organisational and financial plan
These objectives are underpinned by TISPOL’s values of service, professionalism, integrity, compassion, equality and fairness.
The European Commission has published the most recent statistics on road fatalities, based on provisional data for 2014 road deaths in Europe. The number of road fatalities has decreased by approximately only 1% compared to 2013; the decrease rate has slowed down in 2014 following on the 8% decrease in 2012 and 2013. The average EU fatality rate for 2014 is expected to be 51 road deaths per million inhabitants. Country by country statistics show that the number of road deaths still varies greatly across the EU, from less than 30 (Malta, the Netherlands, Sweden and the United Kingdom) to above 90 (Bulgaria, Latvia, Lithuania and Romania) deaths per million inhabitants.
In the respective accompanying European Commission road safety statistics report, the basic safety trends, statistics and challenges in the EU 2010-2014 are highlighted, with focus on pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists.
A Diploma Thesis titled ‘Feasibility analysis of installing pedestrian bridges in major road axes in Athens‘ was presented by Natalia Vraka in March 2015. Sixteen hazardous road locations for the five year period 2007 – 2011, were identified through the Quality Control method, assessing accident data concerning pedestrians and traffic volume data regarding eleven central road axes of Athens with a high pedestrian traffic. Then, a before-and-after accident analysis method with a large control group was applied , which demonstrated a strong dissimilarity between the six examined pedestrian bridges. As a result, no clear conclusions could be drawn about the impact of pedestrian bridges in accidents frequency and severity. However, based on in situ observations made at the 16 dangerous road sections, the conclusion drawn was that there is high potential for the construction of pedestrian bridges in four of them, whereas in four others specific additional interventions would be needed.
The Working Party on Road Traffic Safety of the United Nations – Economic Commission for Europe on the occasion of its 70th meeting has organised with great success in Geneva, on 23 March 2015 a Round Table on Power Two Wheeler Safety. Several international PTW safety experts contributed state of the art developments from around the world on traffic safety of motorcycles, scooters and mopeds, available at the UN/ECE website.
NTUA Professor George Yannis made an invited presentation on ‘Improved Safety of Motorcycles, Scooters and Mopeds‘
The Road Map for Safer Cars 2020 has recently been published by Global NCAP with ten key recommendations for safer cars. Millions of new cars sold in middle and low income countries fail to meet the UN’s basic safety standards for front and side impacts revealed international automotive safety watchdog Global NCAP. A package of minimum safety regulations for adoption by the end of the UN Decade, measures to promote a market for safety among car buyers in the rapidly motorising countries, policies to sustain the safety of the vehicles once in use, and a proposed industry voluntary commitment to implement minimum occupant safety standards to all new passenger cars are included in the Road Map. If this Road Map is followed by 2020, all new cars in the world would pass the minimum UN standards for crashworthiness and crash avoidance. This would spread the advances in automotive safety technology across all countries, mitigate the risks of rapid motorisation, and help achieve a world free from many avoidable and unnecessary road traffic fatalities.
A Diploma Thesis titled ‘Investigation of the effect of vehicle collision type on road accident severity in Greece‘ was presented by Olga Reitzopoulou in March 2015. Appropriately processed data for the period 2007-2011 in Greece were used from the ELSTAT datafile based on Traffic Police records and special log-rate analysis models were developed. Severity has been chosen to be expressed as the rate of number of persons killed and seriously injured divided by the number of slightly injured persons. The analysis led to the investigation of the impact on accident severity of the area type and the vehicle type involved. It appears that the severity is higher for passenger car and motorcycle occupants, while the vehicle type of the opponent car that affects more the severity is passenger car and truck. This impact is higher outside urban areas.
The European Transport Safety Council (ETSC) has just published the PIN Flash Report ‘Ranking EU progress on improving mororways safety‘, with the contribution of NTUA. Motorways are the safest roads by design and regulation. Nevertheless in 2013, around 1,900 people were killed on the motorway network in the EU, representing 7% of all road deaths. Nearly 27.500 people have died on motorways in the EU in the last ten years 2004 to 2013. Nevertheless progress has been made. Across the EU the number of people killed on motorways was cut by 49% between 2004 and 2013 (compared to 44% on the rest of the road network). Over the same period, the length of the motorway network increased by about a quarter.
Report titled ‘Towards Safer Work Zones‘ has been released by the European Union Road Federation (ERF). The ERF’s dedicated Working Group, carried out a focused research on national guidelines, legislations and cases regarding equipment deployed in road work zones, in order to detect best practices, identify improvements and produce performance guidelines adapted to the state of the art. This Report focuses on the TEN-T road network and examined the approach, activity and termination areas in mobile, short and long term work zones, current practices and the equipment used throughout the European countries.
NTUA Professor George Yannis has given an invited lecture at the National Transportation Center of the University of Maryland led by Prof. Lei Zhang, on “Traffic and safety data analysis: from correlation to causation and policy support“. The Lecture focussed on the various facets of road safety data, starting from the need for evidence based road safety policies, followed by key road safety analysis methods, the challenges of road safety measures’ assessment and the role of road user behaviour and concluding with an integrated road safety approach from data monitoring and analysis to policy support.
The European Commission has recently released a Study on some safety-related aspects of tyre use, prepared by the TNO and TML. The overall aim of the study is to propose policy options concerning the use of tyres for improvement of traffic safety. Centrally to this, is the idea that end users need to make the correct assessment in relation to the tyre condition in order to achieve a level of safety as high as possible. The tyre condition is considered in relation to technical elements (tyre inflation pressure, tyre tread depth, tyre damage, tyre age, and meteorological influences) and one information element (driver awareness). The study addresses the topics of tyre usage and the impact on road safety (which are the potential safety improvements related to tyre usage from a technical perspective) and how can road users be supported to use tyres that have a better safety performance by policy options.
The second version of the Motorcycle Vision is now available by the Swedish Motorcyclists Association (SMC). The aim of the Motorcycle Vision is to introduce the motorcyclists’ views on the targets in Vision Zero and how they should be achieved. Six years after the release of the first Motorcycle Vision, SMC releases the Motorcycle Vision version 2.0, updated on the basis of statistics, research, new knowledge and experiences. The Report focusses on the responsibility of the motorcyclists, the interaction with other users, a more motorcycle friendly transport system and the safer vehicles.
A paper titled ‘A review of Powered-Two-Wheeler behaviour and safety‘ co-authored by Athanasios Theofilatos and George Yannis is now published in the International Journal of Injury Control and Safety Promotion. Current research on PTW safety is not as extensive as for other road users (passenger cars, etc.) and this research provides a critical review of research on Power-Two-Wheeler behaviour and safety with regard to data collection, methods of analysis and contributory factors, and discuss the needs for further research. Both macroscopic analyses (accident frequency, accident rates and severity) and microscopic analyses (PTW rider behaviour, interaction with other motorised traffic) are examined and discussed in this paper. The research gaps and the needs for future research are identified, discussed and put in a broad framework. When the interactions between behaviour, accident frequency/rates and severity are co-considered and co-investigated with the various contributory factors (riders, other users, road and traffic environment, vehicles), the accident and injury causes as well as the related solutions are better identified.
The European Transport Safety Research Report is just published by the European Commission. In the last ten years, safety has increased across all modes, the EU set ambitious targets in its 2011 Transport White Paper, but much more needs to be done. The purpose of this Report is to demonstrate the amount of research effort being spent in each of Europe’s transport sectors to deliver a safer transport system for the 21st Century.
The latest tool of the ERTICO – ITS Europe is the ITS Library, a large collection of ITS related documents, videos, audio recordings and presentations. These materials relate to ITS in general, ITS projects, and ITS publications (academic and other). Thousands of document have been collected and published to provide useful access to a vast amount of knowledge and experience in the development, deployment and testing of intelligent transport systems. Access is free after a simple registration.
The European Commission has released the new Policy Brochure ‘Travelling Safely in Europe by road, rail and water‘. The publication highlights the contribution of EU research in improving safety of vehicles and infrastructure, and enhancing user behaviour, with the overall goal to improve safety of the European transport systemand meet the ambitious targets to reduce fatalities and injuries on land and sea throughout the European Union.
A paper titled ‘Simulation of Pedestrians and Motorised Traffic: existing research and future challenges‘ co-authored by Eleonora Papadimitriou, Jean Michael Auberlet, Sylvain Lassarrre and George Yannis is now published in International Journal of Interdisciplinary Telecommunications and Networking. The objective of this paper is the analysis of the state of the art in pedestrian simulation models and the identification of key issues for further research, with particular focus on the modelling of pedestrians and motorised traffic. A review and a comparative assessment of pedestrian simulation models are carried out, including macroscopic models, earlier meso- and miscosimulation models (mostly in Cellular Automata) and more recent Multi-Agent simulation models. The reviewed models cover a broad range of research topics: pedestrian flow and level of service, crowd dynamics and evacuations, route choice etc. However, pedestrian movement in urban areas and the interactions between pedestrians and vehicles have received notably less attention. A number of challenges to be addressed in future research are outlined: first, the need to and account for the hierarchical behavioural model of road users (strategic / tactical / operational behaviour); second, the need for appropriate description and parameterization of vehicle and pedestrian networks and their crossing points; third, the need to exploit in the simulation models the results of statistical and probabilistic models, which offer valuable insight in the determinants of pedestrian behaviour. In each case, recent studies towards addressing these challenges are outlined.
A new report on the Importance of Road Maintenance is now available by the World Road Association (PIARC). The importance of maintenance needs to be recognised by decision makers, funded appropriately and well managed to ensure maximum value is achieved. Inadequate levels of investment or poor management of the road network will have serious consequences for economies and social well-being. This report makes the case for the importance of road maintenance by drawing on robust evidence from around the world.
AIG has recently released a whitepaper that outlines the issue of road safety and highlights some cutting edge ways AIG aims to improve road safety for all road users. AIG leverages data-driven insights and years of claims experience to understand why road accidents happen with the intent of helping clients remain safe behind the wheel.
The European Commission has recently released a Report on Event Data Recorders (EDR), prepared by the Transport Research Laboratory. The objective of this study was to assist the European Commission in deciding whether the fitting of EDR in all vehicles or certain categories of vehicles could result in an improvement of road safety or have other possible consequences that would justify the costs associated with the adoption of EU legislative measures. The study aimed to quantify the costs and benefits for heavy goods vehicles, light goods vehicles, buses and coaches, and passenger cars (for private and commercial use). According to this study, the benefits of EDRs are consistently documented in terms of road safety, vehicle design, accidentology and accident reconstruction and legal accident proceedings.
ACEM has recently published ‘The safe ride to the future‘, its new road safety strategy to further improve safety levels for motorcyclists in Europe. The document has been presented at the 10th International Motorcycle Conference in Köln (Germany). As part of this new strategy, the motorcycle industry has signed a Memorandum of Understanding on cooperative Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS). With regard to training of riders, ACEM and the German Road Safety Council (DVR) have joined forces to promote high quality voluntary post-license training schemes across the EU through a DVR-ACEM Quality Seal. ACEM will also organise a series of workshops in different European countries to identify and promote measures to improve road safety at national, regional and local levels.
A document on the potential road safety improvements offered by in-vehicle safety systems and Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS) technologies has been released by the European Commission. The aim of this document is to provide a view on the potential of these technologies to prevent accident or reduce their consequences and on how to best promote the deployment of those seen to be most effective.
A paper titled ‘Current road safety trends in Greece‘ co-authored by George Yannis and Alexandra Laiou is now published in Periodica Polytechnica. Greece has been for years among the worst performing countries in Europe in terms of road safety with one of the highest annual rates of fatalities per million inhabitants in the EU. However, a gradual decrease has been recorded over time. The bad performance of Greece in road safety is partially due to institutional problems such as inefficient organization of public administration, lack of organized structures of the State with responsibility for road safety, non-accountability of stakeholders in relation to the implementation of actions and inadequate funding for road safety. The most critical, road user behavior related, accident factors include speeding, low usage rates of seat belts and helmets, unorganized and unprotected traffic of vulnerable road users, drink-driving, use of mobile phones while driving and generalized aggressive driving. In Greece, a great potential for safety improvement exists, if serious effort for tackling the above major critical factors is made.
A paper titled ‘A review of the effect of traffic and weather characteristics on road safety‘ co-authored by Athanasios Theofilatos and George Yannis is now published in Accident Analysis & Prevention. Taking into consideration the increasing availability of real-time traffic data and stimulated by the importance of proactive safety management, this paper attempts to provide a review of the effect of traffic and weather characteristics on road safety, identify the gaps and discuss the needs for further research. Despite the existence of generally mixed evidence on the effect of traffic parameters, a few patterns can be observed. For instance, traffic flow seems to have a non-linear relationship with accident rates, even though some studies suggest linear relationship with accidents. On the other hand, increased speed limits have found to have a straightforward positive relationship with accident occurrence. Regarding weather effects, the effect of precipitation is quite consistent and leads generally to increased accident frequency but does not seem to have a consistent effect on severity. The impact of other weather parameters on safety, such as visibility, wind speed and temperature is not found straightforward so far. The increasing use of real-time data not only makes easier to identify the safety impact of traffic and weather characteristics, but most importantly makes possible the identification of their combined effect. The more systematic use of these real-time data may address several of the research gaps identified in this research.
The combined effect of economic crisis, traffic and weather conditions on road safety in Athens 2014
A Diploma Thesis titled ‘The combined effect of economic crisis, traffic and weather conditions on road safety in Athens‘ was presented by Eleni Ziaka in July 2014. Data was collected on a monthly basis for the period 2006-2011 in Attica for victims in road accidents (motorcyclists & pedestrians) including rainfall and temperature, traffic volume and speed in selected arterials and police reports (use of seatbelt and helmet, driving under the influence of alcohol and speed limit violations) and six lognormal regression models were developed. Results show that congestion is statistically significant in every model and speed is statistically significant only in models with seriously injured and killed people. Also, it was found that an increase in temperature and decrease in rainfall increases the number of casualties and especially the seriously injured and killed people. Moreover, influence of speed limit violations and driving under the influence of alcohol is statistically significant. Finally, it is seen that there is a decrease trend in the number of casualties during the economic crisis.
The fourth edition of the Glossary for Transport Statistics is now published by the ITF, Eurostat and UNECE. The Glossary for Transport Statistics was published for the first time in 1994 with the purpose of assisting member countries during the collection of data on transport using the Common Questionnaire developed by the UNECE, ITF and Eurostat. It now comprises 735 definitions and represents a point of reference for all those involved in transport statistics.
A paper titled ‘Motorcycle riding under the influence of alcohol: Results from the SARTRE-4 survey‘, co-authored by Eleonora Papadimitriou, Athanasios Theofilatos, George Yannis, Julien Cestac and Sami Kraïem is now published in Accident Analysis and Prevention. This research investigates the factors affecting the declared frequency of drink-riding among motorcyclists in Europe and explores regional differences. Data were collected from the SARTRE-4 (Social Attitudes to Road Traffic Risk in Europe) survey, which was conducted in 19 countries. A total sample of 4483 motorcyclists was interviewed by using a face-to-face questionnaire. The data were analyzed by means of multilevel ordered logit models. The results revealed significant regional differences (between Northern, Eastern and Southern European countries) in self-reported drink-riding frequencies in Europe. In general,declared drinking and riding were positively associated with gender (males), increased exposure, underestimation of risk, friends’ behaviour, past accidents and alcohol ticket experience. On the other hand, it was negatively associated with underestimation of the amount of alcohol allowed before driving, and support for more severe penalties.
A Global Approach to Safer Motorcycling’ has recently been published by the International Motorcycle Manufacturers Association (IMMA). This Report updates and replaces the IMMA motorcycle safety document ‘HHRT – Headlight, Helmet, Road Surface and Training’ published in 2010. The key principles in HHRT still apply, but the new Report includes a selection of global best practices for policy makers’ consideration and implies a wider perspective on sustainable road safety – the position of the Powered Two Wheeler (PTW) in society, its economic contribution, how PTWs are used and how infrastructure can be developed to support rider safety.
A paper titled ‘Road safety forecasts in five European countries using structural time-series models‘, co-authored by Constantinos Antoniou, Eleonora Papadimitriou and George Yannis is now published in Traffic Injury Prevention. The objective of this research is toapply structural time series models for obtaining reliable medium- to long-term forecasts of road traffic fatality risk using data from 5 countries with different characteristics from all over Europe(Cyprus, Greece, Hungary, Norway, and Switzerland). Two structural time series models are considered: (1) the local linear trend model and the (2) latent risk time series model. Furthermore, a structured decision tree for the selection of the applicable model for each situation (developed within the Road Safety Data, Collection, Transfer and Analysis
A paper titled ‘Needs and priorities of road safety stakeholders for evidence-based policy making‘ co-authored by Eleonora Papadimitriou and George Yannis is now published in Transport Policy Journal. The objective of this research is the analysis of needs and priorities of road safety stakeholders for evidence-based policy making. Needs and priorities concern both the data to be collected or made available and the tools to be developed or made available to support science-based policy-making. Within the EC co-funded DaCoTA research project, an on-line survey was addressed to more than 3.000 stakeholders, mostly from European countries, in which participants were asked to assess the importance of more than 50 items reflecting data and resources for all stages of road safety policy making. Cluster analysis was carried out, revealing 4 groups of stakeholders with similar needs and priorities: a “low priorities” group, a “need data and models group”, a group mainly interested on “implementation” and an “in-depth analysis” group. Further analysis suggested that the four clusters are adequately – and often similarly – represented in all groups of countries, and in all types of organizations (e.g. national administrations, universities, interest groups, road safety organizations etc.).
Latent risk and trend models for the evolution of annual fatality numbers in 30 European countries – 2014
A paper titled ‘Latent risk and trend models for the evolution of annual fatality numbers in 30 European countries‘ co-authored by Emmanuelle Dupont, Jacques J.F. Commandeur, Sylvain Lassarre, Frits Bijleveld, Heike Martensen, Constantinos Antoniou, Eleonora Papadimitriou, George Yannis, Elke Hermans, Catherine Pérez, Elena Santamariña-Rubio, Davide Shingo Usami,Gabriele Giustiniani is now published in Accident Analysis & Prevention. In this paper a unified methodology is presented for the modelling of the evolution of road safety in 30 European countries. For each country, annual data of the best available exposure indicator and of the number of fatalities were simultaneously analysed with the bivariate latent risk time series model. This model is based on the assumption that the amount of exposure and the number of fatalities are intrinsically related. It captures the dynamic evolution in the fatalities as the product of the dynamic evolution in two latent trends: the trend in the fatality risk and the trend in the exposure to that risk. The temporal structure of the unobserved components of the optimal model was established, and structural breaks in the trends related to external events were identified and captured by adding intervention variables to the appropriate components of the model. As a final step, for each country the optimally modelled developments were projected into the future, thus yielding forecasts for the number of fatalities up to and including 2020.
Impact of texting on young drivers’ behaviour and safety in urban and rural roads through a simulation experiment – 2014
A paper titled ‘Impact of texting on young drivers’ behaviour and safety in urban and rural roads through a simulation experiment‘ co-authored by George Yannis,Alexandra Laiou, Panagiotis Papantoniou and Charalambos Christoforou is now published in Journal of Safety Research. A driving simulator experiment was carried out in which 34 young participants drove in different driving scenarios; specifically, driving in good weather, in raining conditions, in daylight and in night were examined. Lognormal regression methods were used to investigate the influence of texting as well as various other parameters on the mean speed and mean reaction time. Binary logistic methods were used to investigate the influence of texting use as well as various other parameters in the probability of an accident. It appears that texting leads to statistically significant decrease of the mean speed and increase of the mean reaction time in urban and rural road environment. Simultaneously, it leads to an increased accident probability due to driver distraction and delayed reaction at the moment of the incident. It appeared that drivers using mobile phones with a touch screen present different driving behavior with respect to their speed, however, they had an even higher probability of being involved in an accident.
A paper titled ‘Modeling road accident injury under-reporting in Europe‘ co-authored by George Yannis, Eleonora Papadimitriou, Antonis Chaziris and Jeremy Broughton is now published in European Transport Research Review. The purpose of this research is to present a disaggregate analysis of road accident injury under-reporting in selected European countries. The level of injury under-reporting is expressed by under-reporting coefficients, estimated as the actual estimated number of road accident injuries of a given severity to the number of related injuries recorded by the Police. Log-rate models are developed in order to estimate the combined effects of country (CZ, FR, GR, HU, NL, ES and the UK), road user type (car occupant, motorcyclist, pedal cyclist, pedestrian), Police severity score (serious or slight injury) and MAIS score (the maximum Abbreviated Injury Scale score) on under-reporting. The results suggest that the examined characteristics have important combined effect on under-reporting (i.e. third-order interaction). For example, it was found that slight injuries are more likely to be under-reported than serious injuries in the Czech Republic, France, and Greece, while the opposite is the case for the Netherlands and the UK. Moreover, although the Netherlands do not present high under-reporting rates overall, a particular issue is identified in this country for pedal cyclists’ slight injuries.
A Diploma Thesis titled ‘Comparative multilevel road safety analysis in European capitals‘ was presented by Marianthi Mermygka in May 2014. A database was developed for this analysis containing data regarding the number and the characteristics of road fatalities, the population and other indicators of the nine selected European capital cities for the period 2007 – 2011. Multilevel Poisson statistical models were developed, allowing for a clearer picture of the hierarchical structure of road safety data, and they led to a more complete identification of factors affecting road safety level in the selected European capital cities, revealing new additional aspects of road safety performance in these cities. Factors found with a statistically significant impact concerned city characteristics (road network length, population density, public transport use) and accident characteristics (road user and vehicle type). The comparison between the European capital cities showed that the larger the city’s road network is, the higher the level of road safety is in this city.
The International Road Traffic and Accident Database (IRTAD) of the International Transport Forum (ITF/OECD) published the Annual Report 2014, which comprises asynthesis of the main trends and road safety indicators for the year 2012 and preliminary data for the year 2013. It presents longer-term trends in order to better understand the developments taking place in the different countries. The road fatality count in IRTAD countries was 1.7% lower in 2012 than 2011 whilst mobility, in terms of motorised vehicle-kilometres, remained more or less constant. Although the fatality reduction fits into the long-term downward trend, 2012 saw the smallest reduction in ten years.
The new report ‘Safe Roads for All: A Post-2015 Agenda for Health and Development’ from the Commission for Global Road Safety is now available, urging a road safety target to be included in the new UN Sustainable Development Goals. The Mandela family is leading The Long Short Walk campaign calling for road safety to be included in the post-2015 development agenda. 2015 is a crunch year as it will be the launch date for new Sustainable Development Goals to replace the Millennium Development Goals.
In April 2014, the European transport Safety Council (ETSC) published in its re-designed website a PIN Flash concerning Car Occupant Safety. Around 240,000 car occupants were killed in road collisions in the EU in the years 2001-2012 . There were 12,345 deaths in 2012 compared with 27,700 in 2001, a cut of 55%. Deaths of car occupants were cut by more than the overall death rate (49%) and substantially more than the rate for other road users (41%). Car occupants have therefore benefitted more than other road users from road safety measures adopted over the past decade. This is not surprising, as many of those measures were targeted at car occupants including increased enforcement of the main traffic offences, improved vehicle occupant protection, and, to a lesser extent, improved infrastructure.
On 10 April 2014 the UN General Assembly adopted the “Improving global road safety” Resolution sponsored by the Russian Government. Among key decisions, the Resolution welcomes the offer of the Government of Brazil to host the Second Global Ministerial Conference on Road Safety in 2015, encourages the inclusion of road safety in the post-2015 development agenda, invites WHO to continue monitoring progress in the Decade of Action and requests organization of the Third UN Global Road Safety Week in 2015 on children and road safety. It backs calls for road safety to be considered in developing post-2015 global “Sustainable Development Goals” which are key to finance for road safety.
Relationship between motorcyclists’ attitudes, behaviour and other attributes with declared accident involvement in Europe – 2014
A paper titled ‘Relationship between motorcyclists’ attitudes, behaviour and other attributes with declared accident involvement in Europe‘ co-authored by Athanasios Theofilatos and George Yannis is now published in Traffic Injury Prevention. The objective of this study is to investigate patterns of road safety attitudes and behaviors of motorcyclists in Europe on the basis of the results of the pan-European questionnaire-based survey SARTRE-4, carried out in late 2010 in 18 European countries and Israel. It was found that motorcyclists who tend to have dangerous attitudes and behaviors as well as younger motorcyclists are more likely to have been involved in an accident. The findings of the study provide some insight into the association between attitudes, behaviors, and declared past accident involvement.
The International Road Union (IRU) has published new guidelines for safe load securing in road transport. The guidelines aim to provide a guide for safe and effective load securing for all situations that may occur in normal traffic conditions. They should also serve as a common basis for both practical application and enforcement of load securing.
A paper titled ‘Assessment of exposure proxies for macroscopic road safety prediction‘ co-authored by Costas Antoniou and George Yannis is now published in Transportation Research Record. The objective of this research is to investigate the suitability of alternative proxy variables for macroscopic road safety modeling, using three suitable exposure proxies: (i) number of vehicles in circulation, (ii) GDP and (iii) fuel consumption. Severalstructural time-series models have been developed for each proxy for two Mediterranean countries with many similar socio-economic characteristics: Greece and Cyprus. Based on the findings of this analysis, a number of observations can be drawn. Proxy variables can provide reasonable results, when exposure data are not available. Furthermore, even in two countries with many similarities the selected proxy measure differs. This suggests that the underlying conditions that make a variable a suitable proxy for exposure is complex and needs further investigation.
Comparative analysis of young drivers’ behaviour in normal and simulated conditions in interurban road 2014
A Diploma Thesis titled ‘Comparative analysis of young drivers’ behaviour in normal and simulated conditions in interurban road‘ was presented by Marios Nikas in January 2014. This Diploma Thesis aims to compare the behavior of young drivers in normal and simulated driving conditions. Data were collected through an experimental process on a driving simulator but also on real traffic conditions, in which all the participants drove in both cases the same driving scenarios. Lognormal regression methods were developed for the identification of the impact of driving environment (simulated and real traffic conditions), basic driver characteristics (mileage, age, gender), as well as the driving style (average acceleration, deceleration and standard deviations of them) to the average vehicle speed change. Through model implementation, it was revealed that absolute values of drivers’ traffic performance vary between simulated and real driving conditions. On the contrary, relative differences of driver behaviour at the two driving environments remain mostly the same. More precisely, speed difference between fast and slow drivers is the same at the two driving environments, as is also speed difference the same at the two driving environments between drivers talking and not talking to the co-driver.
A Diploma Thesis titled ‘Critical Factors of motorcycle accidents in Greece‘ was presented by Evita Alevizou in January 2014. For this thesis, appropriately processed data were used from the database of the Department of Transportation Planning and Engineering of the National Technical University of Athens (NTUA) and loglinear regression models were developed. The application of these models led to the investigation of the influence of several parameters, such as region type, age, lighting, accident type etc on the number of fatalities and injuries. It appears that the number of vehicles involved in the accident is the most important factor of the fatalities model, while the accident type affects more the serious and slight injuries. This influence is greater on motorcycles than passenger cars.
Comparative analysis of factors affecting driving under the influence of alcohol of car drivers and motorcyclists 2014
A Diploma Thesis titled ‘Comparative analysis of factors affecting driving under the influence of alcohol of car drivers and motorcyclists‘ was presented by Dimitra Arvaniti in January 2014. The aim of this diploma thesis is to examine the factors affecting driving under the influence of alcohol of car drivers and motorcycles. To achieve this goal, the responses of a representative sample of Greek drivers of cars and motorcycles are examined from thepan-European research SARTRE 4 and are analyzed by the development of logistic regression models. The application of the models revealed that the factors affecting driving under the influence of alcohol are six for car drivers and seven for motorcyclists, four of which are common. The common parameters are: age, their opinion on whether most of their friends would be driving under the influence of alcohol, their opinion on whether a person is capable of driving carefully in case of consumption alcohol and their education level. Additional factors for car drivers are their view on the legal limit of alcohol consumption and their gender, and for motorcyclists it is their view on how dangerous driving under the influence of drugs is.
A Diploma Thesis titled ‘Investigation of the impact on road safety of increasing the speed limit on motorways‘ was presented by Eleni Georgiadou in January 2014. The objective of this Diploma Thesis is to investigate the impact on road safety of increasing the speed limit on motorways from 120 to 130 km/h in June 2007. In order to achieve this objective, data was collected concerning road accidents on motorway sections Athens – Thebes and Athens – Tripoli from the database of Department of Transportation Planning and Engineering of the N.T.U.A. with data from the Hellenic Statistical Authority and on sections of the Egnatia Motorway from Egnatia Odos S.A. for the period 2005 – 2010. The application of the methodology indicates a statistically significant increase in the number of deaths in the section Athens – Thebes a year after raising the speed limit, possibly due to the increase of the speed limit, and then ceases to be statistically significant, probably due to improvements made to the infrastructure. In the section Athens – Tripoli a reduction in accidents and victims is indicated probably due to improvements in the infrastructure while in the Egnatia Motorway there is no statistically significant change possibly due to the high geometrical characteristics of the road which might satisfy the higher speed limit.
The International Transport Forum’s Cycling Safety Working Group has recently released a Research Report on Cycling, Health and Safety. This report monitors international trends in cycling, safety and policy, and explores options that may help decision makers design safe environments for cycling. Key messages relate tostrategic goal-setting for cycling policy and managing crash risks while increasing health benefits. The report also discusses how to better capture crash and bicycle usage statistics. The safety impacts of a wide range of pro-cycling measures are examined in detail.
ETSC has recently published the Memorandum to the Greek Presidency of the Council of the European Union titled ‘Road safety priorities for the EU in 2014’. In this Memorandum, ETSC outlines its recommendations on the key EU road safety policy dossiers to be steered by the Greek presidency of the European Union in the first half of 2014. These include securing agreements on EU legislation on automated in-vehicle emergency calling (eCall) and safer lorry design. The main recent and forthcoming policy initiatives from the European Commission including progress on in-vehicle safety technologies such as Intelligent Speed Assistance (ISA) for professional vehicles and alcohol interlocks for certain vehicle and driver categories, are also included, with recommendations for maximising the results for road safety. The final part of this Memorandum focuses on Greece’s own track record on road safety with recommendations for improvement.
The European Union Road Federation (ERF) has launched a Position Paper that makes the case for a more widespread use of road markings on Europe’s roads as a means of increasing road safety and reducing the socio-economic impact of accidents. Road markings are one of the most cost-effective safety solutions that are available to policymakers and road owners. They provide drivers with much needed guidance on the road, allow for better preview time and can significantly help avert the risks of run-off accidents and head-collisions. This paper is calling on Member States to establish intervention and maintenance policies to guarantee that road markings on Europe’s road remain visible for first and foremost for road users and at same time, optimise the interaction between the road infrastructure and the intelligent car.
A paper titled ‘Detecting Powered-Two-Wheeler Incidents from High Resolution Naturalistic Data‘ co-authored by Eleni Vlahogianni, George Yannis and John Golias is now published in Transportation Research Part F: Traffic Psychology and Behaviour. During risky conditions, Powered-Two-Wheeler (PTW) drivers often alter their behavior from a regular driving pattern to an irregular chain of driving actions by braking, changing the throttle pressure, maneuvering and so on, or combinations of the above. However, both the actual and perceived thresholds of regular and irregular driving behavior differ among PTW drivers. A simple and flexible methodology is proposed in order to define PTW driving profiles by distinguishing between regular and irregular PTW driving behaviors using high resolution naturalistic data. “Irregularities” in driving behavior are consistently expressed as outlying values in the dataset of driving parameters. The detected irregularities are those that diverge from the centroid of the jointly considered driving parameters. These irregularities may be considered to define critical driving situations (incidents) that are further associated to typical driving events. Results indicate that the joint consideration ofvariables which are directly connected to the mechanical characteristics of PTW, such as front and rear brake activation, wheel speed, throttle and steering, are adequate to distinguish the regular from irregular PTW driving behavior.
Global Road Safety Partnership launched its new publication “Advocating for Road Safety: A Guidance Manual for National Societies“. The purpose of this document is to guide Red Cross Red Crescent National Societies through the process of planning and implementing a road safety advocacy initiative. The document outlines the role advocacy plays in improving road safety, and highlights the added value of Red Cross Red Crescent National Societies’ involvement in road safety advocacy. Moreover, it defines the steps required to design and implement an advocacy initiativearound a road safety issue and provides examples, resources and tools to support National Societies throughout the design process.
The Hellenic Ministry of Infrastructure, Transport and Networks, as a part of the effort to reduce road accidents in Greece, emerges as a top priority the Road Safety Education Development. Particular emphasis is given on informing and educating children about road safety and traffic behaviour and prepare them to become responsible future drivers. For this reason, a series of electronic traffic education books for students of Primary and Secondary Schools, prepared by CERTH/HIT and with the contribution of NTUA, are now availble online.
A paper titled ‘Effect of GDP changes on road traffic fatalities‘ co-authored by George Yannis, Eleonora Papadimitriou and Katerina Folla is now published in the Journal of Safety Science. This research aims to associate annual Gross Domestic Product (GDP) changes with the related annual changes in road traffic mortality rates. Mortality rates and GDP per capita data for the period 1975–2011 are used from 27 European countries, for the development of mixed linear models. The results suggest that an annual increase of GDP per capita leads to an annual increase of mortality rates, whereas an annual decrease of GDP per capita leads to an annual decrease of mortality rates. These effects are statistically significant overall, and in different groups of countries (Northern/Western, Central/Eastern and Southern). A one-year lagged effect of annual GDP decrease was found to be significant in Northern/Western countries.
A paper titled ‘Exposure data and risk indicators for safety performance assessment in Europe‘ co-authored by Eleonora Papadimitriou, George Yannis, Frits Bijleveld and João Cardoso is now published in the Journal of Accident Analysis and Prevention. The objective of this paper is theanalysis of the state-of-the-art in risk indicators and exposure data for safety performance assessment in Europe, in terms of data availability, collection methodologies and use. More specifically, the concepts of exposure and risk are explored, as well as the theoretical properties of various exposure measures used in road safety research (e.g. vehicle- and person-kilometres of travel, vehicle fleet, road length, driver population, time spent in traffic, etc.). Moreover, the existing methods for collecting disaggregate exposure data for risk estimates at national level are presented and assessed, including survey methods (e.g. travel surveys, traffic counts) and databases (e.g. national registers). A detailed analysis of the availability and quality of existing risk exposure data is also carried out. Finally, the potential of international risk comparisons is investigated, mainly through the International Data Files with exposure data (e.g. Eurostat, IRTAD, ECMT, UNECE, IRF, etc.). The results of this review confirm that comparing risk rates at international level may be a complex task, as the availability and quality of exposure estimates in European countries varies significantly. The lack of a common framework for the collection and exploitation of exposure data limits significantly the comparability of the national data. On the other hand, the International Data Files containing exposure data provide useful statistics and estimates in a systematic way and are currently the only sources allowing international comparisons of road safety performance under certain conditions.
A paper titled ‘Multilevel analysis in road safety research‘ co-authored by Emmanuelle Dupont, Eleonora Papadimitriou, Heike Martensen and George Yannis is now published in the Journal of Accident Analysis and Prevention. This paper summarizes the statistical and conceptual background and motivations for multilevel analyses in road safety research. It then provides a review of several ML analyses applied to aggregate and disaggregate (accident) data. In each case, the relevance of ML modelling techniques is assessed by examining whether ML model formulations (i) allow improving the fit of the model to the data, (ii) allow identifying and explaining random variation at specific levels of the hierarchy considered, and (iii) yield different (more correct) conclusions than single-level model formulations with respect to the significance of the parameter estimates. The evidence reviewed offers different conclusions depending on whether the analysis concerns aggregate data or disaggregate data. In the first case, the application of ML analysis techniques appears straightforward and relevant. The studies based on disaggregate accident data, on the other hand, offer mixed findings: computational problems can be encountered, and ML applications are not systematically necessary. The general recommendation concerning disaggregate accident data is to proceed to a preliminary investigation of the necessity of ML analyses and of the additional information to be expected from their application.
A new book on Green Urban Mobility has been presented on September 26th, 2013 in Athens, highlighting theEuropean approach on current policies for sustainable urban mobility. This book was edited by urban planner Stavros Tsetsis and was presented by the European Parliament Deputies Daniel Cohn Bendit and Marietta Giannakou.
NTUA Associate Professor George Yannis has contributed a chapter on transportation choices in the modern city, highlighting not only the fundamental road safety choices of the modern city but also the need for integrating road safety choices in the urban mobility plans.
SWOV Senior Researcher Henk Stipdonk defended recently his PhD Thesis at Delft University of Technology, exploiting also findings from the EC co-funded research projects SafetyNet and Dacota. This Thesis, titled ‘Road safety bits and pieces: for a better understanding of the development of the number of road fatalities‘, focuses on the subdivision (stratification) of the crash data and the data of distance travelled. Different subgroups with different risks (like different travel modes, different age groups and combinations of both) are modelled separately. It is shown that these groups often have different risks and different trends in distance travelled. These different subgroups – the ‘bits’ and ‘pieces’ – and their different developments can give rise to a substantial change in the total risk – the ‘road safety’. It is concluded that the present manner of analyzing road safety developments – i.e. based on the total number of road fatalities and the total fatality rate – is insufficient to achieve a thorough understanding of these developments. It is better to divide the total number of road fatalities into subgroups and to investigate for each individual subgroup which factors influenced road safety.
The European Commission has launched a new special section at the DG Move road safety website containg a comprehensive inventory of the traffic rules in force in the various EU countries aiming to assist those travelling abroad. This section provides on overview of the most important traffic rules applied by category and by EU country. The user can choose the country of their preference and get informed on the speed limits, seat belt use, alcohol limits and other road safety data of the specific country.