A paper titled ‘A statistical analysis of motorcycle helmet wearing in Greece’ co-authored by G.Yannis, A.Laiou, S.Vardaki, E.Papadimitriou, A.Dragomanovits, G.Kanellaidis is just published in the Advances in Transportation Studies scientific journal. Helmet wearing in Greece was recorded through an on-site observational survey and data collected were used for the development of a binary logistic regression model. The independent variables used were time of the day, motorcycle type, road type and riders’ characteristics (gender, age and position on the motorcycle). Pseudo-elasticity values for all variables were calculated in order to quantify the impact of each one on helmet wearing. The survey revealed low helmet wearing rates. The rates are much higher in rural than in urban areas and for drivers of large motorcycles. Based on pseudo-elasticity values the variable with the greatest impact on wearing a helmet is being the driver.
The Department of Transportation Planning and Engineering of the School of Civil Engineering of the National Technical University of Athens, the Hellenic Institute of Transportation Engineers and the Road Safety Observatory of the Technical Chamber of Greece organised a Lecture by M. Mohamed Abdel-Aty, Professor of Transportation Engineering at the University of Central Florida on ‘Changing the way we think about Traffic Safety: Current Traffic Safety Research Initiatives’. The Lecture took place on Monday, November 12th, 2012 at the Amphitheater of Railways and Transport at the NTUA Campus.
The Road Accidents Annual Statistical Report 2012 is now available at the DaCoTA Road Safety Knowledge System. This Annual Report was developed by the EU co-financed project DaCoTA, within the framework of developing and enhancing the European Road Safety Observatory. This Annual Statistical Report provides the basic characteristics of road accidents in 25 member states of the European Union (no data for Bulgaria and Lithuania yet) and Switzerland for the period 2001-2010, on the basis of data collected and processed within the CARE database, the Community Road Accident Database with disaggregate data.
A Diploma Thesis titled ‘Effect of GDP change on road accidents‘ was presented by Katerina Folla in October 2012. For this analysis a database containing GDP per capita, road fatalities and population data for the EU member states for the period 1975-2011 was developed. Linear Mixed Models were developed and applied for all European countries tested and also for the different groups of countries that were selected (Northwestern, Northern, Eastern countries). It was demonstrated that an annual increase of GDP per capita leads to an annual increase in fatality rates, whereas an annual decrease of GDP per capita leads to an annual decrease in fatality rates.
Effects of alcohol on speeding and road positioning among young drivers: a driving simulator study 2012
A paper titled ‘Effects of alcohol on speeding and road positioning among young drivers: a driving simulator study’ co-authored by Z.Christoforou, M.Karlaftis, G.Yannis is recently published in the Transportation Research Record Science Journal. The paper focuses on the behavior of young drivers under the influence of alcohol, in a driving simulator experiment in which participants were subjected to a common predefined dose of alcohol consumption. Comparing behavior before and after consumption as well as across individuals and different BrAC levels allows for useful insights into driver behavior, as well as for suggestions on policy interventions. Results indicate strong differences in individuals, mainly because of differentiated driving experience and baseline driving skills. The results also designate reaction time and speeding as the most robust alcohol impairment indicators that affect driver choices directly. Most important, results suggest that the BrAC-speed curve across individuals is not monotonic over all BrAC intervals.
A presentation titled “Effects of GDP changes on road traffic fatalities” was given by NTUA Associate Professor George Yannis at the 15th Meeting of the International Road Traffic and Accident Database (IRTAD) of theInternational Transport Forum (ITF/OECD), which took place on 18-19 October 2012, in Amsterdam. A statistically significant relationship between annual GDP increase and fatality rate increase was demonstrated, as well as a statistically significant relationship between annual GDP decrease and fatality rate decrease. Behind these correlations, the causal explanations of the impact of economic recession to the recent impressive reductions in fatalities might include: a. less vehicle-kilometers (increased fuel prices, decrease of recreation mobility, less heavy goods vehicle traffic), b. less speeding (increased fuel prices, more economical and environment friendly driving, low drivers’ morale) and c. less risky driving (fewer young, inexperienced or elderly drivers who may afford vehicle ownership and travel).
The new international standard ISO 39001:2012specifies requirements for a road traffic safety (RTS) management system to enable an organization that interacts with the road traffic system to reduce death and serious injuries related to road traffic crashes which it can influence. The requirements in ISO 39001:2012 include development and implementation of an appropriate RTS policy, development of RTS objectives and action plans, which take into account legal and other requirements to which the organization subscribes, and information about elements and criteria related to RTS that the organization identifies as those which it can control and those which it can influence.
Around 2,100 cyclists were recorded as killed in traffic collisions in 2010 in the 24 EU countries where the data is available, representing 7.2% of the total number of road deaths recorded in those countries. Over the 2001-2010 decade the number of cyclist deaths was reduced by just 39%, compared to the 43% reduction in the overall number of road deaths observed in the same countries. BIKE PAL is a pan European project that aims to offer cyclists a package of information, resources, and awareness raising experiences to help them significantly improve their safety on the roads. In this report the safety ranking of EU countries is illustrated.
The International Transport Forum (ITF/OECD) published the Research Report on Sharing Road Safety. This Report is the result of a three-year co-operative effort by an international group of experts representing 17 countries, with contribution from NTUA Associate Professor George Yannis. The purpose of this report is to emphasize the importance of sharing knowledge on the effectiveness of interventions and transferring of results internationally. Road safety policy is increasingly dependent on sound indicators of the effectiveness of interventions. Policy makers need not only to justify expenditure on safety in terms of effectiveness but to argue convincingly for measures in the face of sceptical and sometimes hostile lobbies. Monitoring and analysis of effectiveness is not without cost, and indicators that relate safety improvements to interventions, “Crash Modification Functions”, that are transferable from one situation to another are a valuable tool in spreading effective safety policies.
A review of “Road safety research in Greece through 31 NTUA Diploma Theses” has been published at the honorary Edition for Professor G.Giannopoulos of the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki. These Diploma Theses were carried out at the Department of Transportation Planning and Engineering of the School of Civil Engineering of the National Technical University of Athens during the period 2000 – 2011 under the supervision of Associate Professor George Yannis and concern seven road safety disciplines:infrastructure, driver behaviour, driver distraction, pedestrians, weather conditions, economic valuation of road accidents and international comparisons. The important potential for road safety research at the Greek Technical Universities has been demonstrated.
Impact of texting on young drivers’ traffic and safety on motorways by the use of a driving simulator 2012
A Diploma Thesis titled ‘Impact of texting on young drivers’ traffic and safety on motorways by the use of a driving simulator‘ was presented by Christos Gartzonikas in July 2012. An experimental process on a driving simulator was carried out, in which all the participants drove in different driving scenarios. Lognormal regression methods were used to investigate the influence of text messaging as well as various other parameters on the mean speed and the mean distance from the front vehicle. Binary logistic methods were used to investigate the influence of text messaging as well as various other parameters in the probability of an accident. It appears thattext messaging leads to statistically significant decrease of the mean speed and to increase of the headway in normal and in specific conditions in motorways and simultaneously leads to an increase of accident’s probability, probably due to increased reaction time of the driver in case of an incident.
A Diploma Thesis titled ‘Simulation of texting impact on young drivers’ behaviour and safety in urban and rural road‘ was presented by Charalambos Christoforou in July 2012. An experimental process on a driving simulator was carried out, in which all the participants drove in different driving scenarios. 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 text messaging use as well as various other parameters in the probability of an accident. It appears that text messaging leads to statistically significant decrease of the mean speed and increase the mean reaction time in urban and interurban road environment and simultaneously leads to an increase of accident’s probability, perhaps due to distraction of driver attention and as a result of the delayed reaction time at the moment of the incident.
A Diploma Thesis titled ‘Attitudes of Greek drivers towards mobile phone use while driving‘ was presented by Paraskevi Marinou in July 2012. The research is based on the data of the pan-European SARTRE 4 survey, which was conducted on a representative sample of Greek drivers in 2011. The analysis of the drivers’ behavior was carried out by the statistical methods of factor and cluster analysis. According to the results of factor analysis, Greek drivers’ responses in the selected questions were summarized into seven factors, describing road behavior, accident involvement probability, but also their views on issues concerning other drivers’ road behavior, enforcement for road safety and mobile phone use while driving. The results of cluster analysis indicated four different groups of Greek drivers: the cautious, the moderate, the conservative and the thoughtless drivers and the characteristics of each group where identified.
Vehicle checks are fundamental to road safety. Technical defects contribute heavily to accidents, they are responsible for 6% of all car accidents, translating into 2,000 fatalities and many more injuries yearly. 8 % of all motorcycle accidents are linked to technical defects. More than five people die on Europe’s roads every day in accidents linked to technical failure. For this reason, the European Commission has adopted new rules to toughen up the testing regime and widen its scope.
The European Commission published a report on the application legislation which requires professional drivers to undergo dedicated training. Data show that trainings have been effective and continue to enhance road safety. The report advises on specific issues to further improve the application of the legislation. The report suggests a few specific issues which can improve the application of the Directive, such as raising the involvement of social partners, and enhance the cooperation between Member States.
The World Health Organization (WHO) and the Global Alliance of NGO’s for Road Safety have recently published a Guide for Nongovernmental Organizations. This guide is an attempt to define more clearly the role of nongovernmental organizations in the advocacy arena. It is especially targeted towards organizations which operate with limited resources. Moreover, it offers ideas for the types of initiatives nongovernmental organizations might conduct, with a series of related checklists, and case studies from around the world, as well as guiding principles and strategic approaches for more targeted advocacy.
A paper titled ‘Analysis of Pedestrian Exposure to Risk in Relation to Crossing Behaviour‘ co-authored by E.Papadimitriou, G.Yannis and J.Golias is published in the Transportation Research Board. The objective of this research was to analyze pedestrian exposure to risk along urban trips in relation to pedestrian crossing behavior. The results showed that exposure to risk for pedestrians along a trip was significantly affected by the pedestrians’ crossing choices, as well as by road and traffic characteristics. Results also revealed that pedestrians with increased walking speed might have partly compensated for their exposure to risk so that the risk was not significantly affected by traffic volume.
A paper titled ‘Overview of critical risk factors in Power-Two-Wheeler safety’ co-authored by E.Vlahogianni, G.Yannis and J.Golias is just published in the Accident Analysis and Prevention scientific journal. The paper focuses on the PTW accident risk factors and reviews existing literature with regard to the PTW drivers’ interactions with the automobile drivers, as well as interactions with infrastructure elements and weather conditions. Several critical risk factors are revealed with different levels of influence to PTW accident likelihood and severity. A broad classification based on the magnitude and the need for further research for each risk factor is proposed. The paper concludes by discussing the importance of dealing with accident configurations, the data quality and availability, methods implemented to model risk and exposure and risk identification which are critical for a thorough understanding of the determinants of PTW safety.
A paper titled “A statistical analysis of the impact of advertising signs on road safety” co-authored by G.Yannis, E.Papadimitriou, P.Papantoniou and C.Voulgari is just published in the International Journal of Injury Control and Safety Promotion. An exhaustive review of international literature was carried out on the effect of advertising signs on driver behaviour and safety and a before-and-after statistical analysis with control groups was applied on several road sites with different characteristics in the Athens metropolitan area. The statistical analysis shows no statistical correlation between road accidents and advertising signs in none of the nine sites examined, as the confidence intervals of the estimated safety effects are non-significant at 95% confidence level. This can be explained by the fact that, in the examined road sites, drivers are overloaded with information, so that the additional information load from advertising signs may not further distract them.
The Transport Division of the United Nations has recently published a report summarising road safety activities. This document presents the UNECE’s Action Plan for the UN Decade of Action for Road Safety (2011–2020). This Plan is directly aligned with the UN Global Plan for the Decade of Action for Road Safety. It aims to achieve the UNECE’s overall road safety goals by addressing priority areas of work as well as by implementing the ongoing and future initiatives in the UNECE region and beyond.
A paper titled “Factors Affecting Accident Severity Inside and Outside Urban Areas in Greece” co-authored by A.Theofilatos, D.Graham and G.Yannis is just published in the Journal of Traffic Injury Prevention. From the application of the models, it appears that the factors affecting road accident severity only inside urban areas are young drivers, bicycles, intersections and collision with fixed objects, whereas the factors affecting severity only outside urban areas are weather conditions, head-on and side collisions, demonstrating the particular road users and traffic situations which should be focused for road safety interventions for the two different types of network (inside and outside urban areas).
A research titled ‘Investigation of the acceptance of a handbook for safe driving at an older age’ co-authored by Sophia Vardaki and George Yannis from NTUA, was recently published in the International Journal of Injury Control and Safety Promotion. The handbook was developed with the purpose of increasing elderly drivers’ awareness of their driving abilities and providing information about the effects of ageing on driving and about safe driving practices and compensation strategies. Binary logistic analysis was conducted to identify individual driver characteristics that might predict acceptance of the handbook by active older drivers in terms of reported increased awareness and intended repeated use. The findings of the research indicate a quite positive attitude of elderly active drivers towards the handbook, as more than half of them reported that they had become more aware of changes in their driving after reading it.
The Hellenic Institute of Transportation Engineers published recently its position towards road safety in Greece. This position paper contains an analysis of current road accident causes and problems in Greece and proposes a set of six priority actions: 1. operation of a central road safety authority, 2. enforcement intensification, 3. systematic monitoring, 4. road infrastructure management, 5. redesign of urban infrastructure and traffic, 6. promotion of safer driver behaviour.
NTUA road safety presentations concerned:
The National Road Safety Strategic Plan for Greece 2011-2020 has been prepared by the Department of Transportation Planning and Engineering of NTUA under the scientific supervision of Prof. G.Kanellaidis and has been recently adopted by the Ministry of Infrastructure, Networks and Communication. In this strategic plan, the European quantitative target is adopted: to reduce the number of road fatalities by 50% between 2010 and 2020 and a long term vision is set: to develop road safety culture in the Greek society. On that purpose, a comprehensive list of specific actions within targeted programmes is proposed, in order to be carried out within a new structure of central, regional and local authorities, as well as of all road safety stakeholders in Greece.
The International Road Traffic and Accident Database (IRTAD) of the International Transport Forum (ITF/OECD) published a Special Report on Serious Road Traffic Casualties aiming to identify and assess methodologies for linking different sources of accident data in order to develop better estimates of the real number of road traffic casualties. The report provides a number of recommendations on the use of police and hospital data, and makes suggestions for an internationally agreed definition of serious injury.
The User Forum on Power Two Wheeler Safety Research took place in Paris on December 14th, 2011. It was organised by the EC co-funded research project 2BESAFE (2-Wheeler Behaviour and Safety), which designed and implemented a broad-ranging research programme (including naturalistic riding experiments) that produced fundamental knowledge on PTW rider behaviour and on interaction between PTW riders and other road users. The produced knowledge was used to propose relevant countermeasures to mitigate PTW accidents’ related fatalities and injuries.
In November 2011, ETSC published a PIN Flash concerning young people. Young men are four times more likely to die on EU roads than young women. The annual average reduction in road deaths among young people is higher than the corresponding reduction for the rest of the population, but in Hungary, Greece, Poland, Ireland, Finland and Romania the opposite is true and road safety of other age groups has improved more. NTUA Associate Professor, George Yannis stated that: “when adjusted for exposure, accident risk for the 18-24-year-old motorcycle riders (202 deaths per million vehicle-km driven) is 8 times higher than the risk for young car drivers (25 deaths per million vehicle-km travelled) and 25 times higher than the risk for older car drivers (8 deaths per million vehicle-km travelled)”.
A paper titled “A GIS-based methodology for identifying pedestrians’ crossing patterns” co-authored by S.Lassare, E.Bonnet, F.Bodin, E.Papadimitriou, G.Yannis and J.Golias is just published in the scientific journal: Computers, Environment and Urban Systems. The objective of this research is the development and testing of appropriate indicators of pedestrian crossing behavior along urban trips, and a methodology for collecting and processing the data required for the analysis of this behavior. The results suggest specific patterns of pedestrian crossing behavior, such as the tendency to cross at the beginning of the trip and the tendency to cross at mid-block locations when signalized junctions are not available. The results are further discussed in terms of urban planning and management implications. It is concluded that the proposed approach is very efficient for the analysis of pedestrian crossing behavior in urban areas.
A Diploma Thesis titled ‘Macroscopic analysis of road accidents at junctions’ was presented by Konstantinos Kapetanakis in November 2011. Processed data were used, extracted from the database of the Department of Transportation Planning and Engineering of the National Technical University of Athens (N.T.U.A.) for the time period 1996 – 2007 in Greece. Analysis has led to a series of conclusions such as that the more usual accident type in junction is the collision at angle and that regardless of the area type, the accidents which occur out of junctions are at least double than those which occur at junctions.
The European Transport Safety Council together with the Road Safety Institute Panos Mylonas organised the 13thEuropean Transport Safety Lecture, on “Distracted Driving“, which took place in Athens, in November 7th, 2011. The lecture was delivered by Associate Professor George Yannis, NTUA, with a response by Prof. Oliver Carsten of the Institute for Transport Studies at the University of Leeds. Driver distraction is an important factor driving up the risk of road collisions worldwide. Researchers claim that some source of driver distraction is reported in up to 30% of road accidents.
On November 7th, 2011, a Presidential Decree was issued concerning the transposition of the Greek legislation to the provisions of the Directive 2008/96/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of the 19th of November 2008 about road safety infrastructure management. The main purpose of the Decree is the establishment and the implementation of road safety audits and inpections, as well as the road safety management of the trans-European road network.
ETSC’s PRAISE project, “Preventing Road Accidents and Injuries for the Safety of Employees” aims at mobilising knowledge needed to create work-related road safety leadership. This report aims to offer employers insight into tackling fatigue amongst HGV drivers. Fatigue is one of main risks for this group of professional drivers. Part one looks at the involvement in HGVs in collisions and collision causation factors including fatigue.
The United Nations Secretary-General issued a report on improving global road safety, prepared by the World Health Organization in consultation with the United Nations regional commissions and other partners of the United Nations Road Safety Collaboration. The report describes efforts undertaken around the world to address the major risk factors for road traffic crashes with the goal of reducing resultant deaths and injuries.
The European Council adopted a directive on cross-border exchange of information on road traffic offences. The objective of this directive is to combat road traffic offences that considerably jeopardise road safety, by facilitating cross-border exchange of information. The directive covers the four traffic offences which cause the most road casualties in Europe, namely speeding, driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, non-use of a seat belt and failing to stop at a red light.
The European Parliament passed a resolution proposing up to one hundred measures to improve road safety in the European Union with key aim to better protect vulnerable road users (pedestrians, cyclists, children and the elderly). The resolution sets out recommendations on infrastructure, road signs, driver training, checks and vehicle equipment. It also calls for the rapid introduction of “intelligent” electronic safety equipment. Finally, it calls on the European Commission to draw up a 4th road safety action plan.
A research titled ‘Autoregressive nonlinear time-series modeling of traffic fatalities in Europe’ co-authored by G.Yannis, C.Antoniou and E.Papadimitriou from NTUA, was published in the Journal European Transport Research Review in August 2011. A macroscopic analysis of road-safety in Europe at the country level is proposed through the application of non-linear models correlating fatalities and vehicles for the period between 1970 and 2002. The proposed models can prove useful for assessing the road safety performance of the examined countries, as well as for obtaining some insight on the current and future trends of less developed countries.
A research titled ‘About pedestrian safety in Europe’ co-authored by E.Papadimitriou, G.Yannis and P.Evgenikos from NTUA, was published in the Journal Advances in Transportation Studies in July 2011. Data on pedestrians’ fatalities for the period 1997-2006 from 19 EU countries, extracted from the EU CARE database, were associated with basic road safety factors like pedestrian’s age and gender (with particular focus on children and the elderly), lighting conditions, area type (inside / outside urban area) as well as seasonality. The results suggest that, although pedestrian fatalities in Europe present a decreasing trend, pedestrian fatality rates are still increased in Southern European countries, as well as in the new Member States.
A Diploma Thesis titled ‘Severity of single vehicle accidents’ was presented by Georgios Pispirigkos in July 2011. Lognormal regression models were developed, which allowed the identification of the effect of various parameters (accident type, weather conditions, lighting conditions, etc.) on the number of killed, seriously and slightly injured for each vehicle type separately. Accidents in which two or more vehicles are involved were found more severe and severity was found higher at accidents involving pedestrians and passenger cars.
A Diploma Thesis titled ‘Correlation of road accidents and weather conditions’ was presented by Dimitris Bilionis in July 2011. The purpose of this diploma thesis is to investigate the correlation between accident counts and basic meteorological conditions, such as rainfall and temperature. For this reason, analytical daily data were used for the number of accidents, fatalities and injuries, as well as for the temperature and the precipitation. The results show that the drop of temperature causes a decrease in the number of accidents, while an increase in precipitation causes a decrease in the number of accidents and fatalities as well.
The International Transport Forum (ITF/OECD) published the Research Report on Pedestrian Safety, Urban Space and Health. This Report is the result of a three-year co-operative effort by an international group of experts representing 19 countries, chaired by NTUA Professor Thanos Vlastos and with contribution from NTUA Research Associate Eleonora Papadimitriou. The purpose of this report is to emphasize the importance of walking as an integral part of the transport system and the vital need for policies to promote walking at all levels of planning. National governments and transport and health ministers can do much to support and encourage walking, even when it is considered to be mainly a local policy issue. A clear vision and political support at national level, backed by a systematic approach to understanding and defining infrastructure quality for pedestrians, is an important complement to and support for initiatives taken by local authorities. On that purpose a comprehensive set of twelve recommendations is proposed.
In May 2011, ETSC published a PIN Flash concerning unprotected road users. At least 15,300 pedestrians, cyclists and motorcycle riders were killed in the EU in 2009, and 169,000 since 2001. Deaths among pedestrians and cyclists decreased by 34% between 2001 and 2009 and those among PTW riders by only 18%, compared with 39 % for car drivers.
The 12th meeting of the International Traffic Data and Analysis Group (IRTAD) organised by the International Transport Forum (ITF) took place in Paris. The duration of the meeting was 31 March – 1 April.
A Diploma Thesis titled ‘Development of macroscopic models for the severity of road accidents with one or more vehicles’ was presented by Smaragda Kritikou in March 2011. The application of the four of log-rate models revealed the impact of various factors on the accident severity (type of region, intersection, weather and lighting condition, vehicle type, age and collision type). Single-vehicle accidents were found 2.4 times more serious than accidents with two or more vehicles and the severity of accidents for the pedestrians was found 1.2 times higher than that for the drivers and 1.4 than that for the passengers.
The impact of mobile phone use and music on the driver behaviour and safety by the use of a driving simulator 2011
A Diploma Thesis titled ‘The impact of mobile phone use and music on the driver behaviour and safety by the use of a driving simulator’ was presented by Elena Papathanasiou and Evridiki Postantzi in March 2011. The analysis of the experiment results revealed that the lower speed and the increase of the distance from the middle of the road of the drivers who have a difficult conversation at the mobile phone while driving, cannot compensate for the much greater risk of an accident, in case of an unexpected event, due to increased reaction time.
A research titled ‘Parameters affecting seat belt use in Greece’ co-authored by G.Yannis, A.Laiou, S.Vardaki, A.Dragomanovits, E.Papadimitriou and G.Kanellaidis from NTUA, was published in the International Journal of Injury Control and Safety Promotion in March 2011. A national field survey was conducted for the analytical recording of seat belt use. A binary logistic regression model was developed, and the impact of each parameter on seat belt use in Greece was quantified. Parameters included in the model concern characteristics of car occupants (gender, age and position in the car), the type of the car and the type of the road network. The variable with the highest impact on not wearing the seat belt is being a passenger on the back seats.
ASECAP in cooperation with the Greek national road association TEO, organised a Road Safety Event in Athens. Road safety is the top priority in relation to the high-quality service delivered by the tolled motorways to their users. The high safety levels of motorways are commonly recognised and this fact was underlined by representatives from the European Parliament, the European Commission and the Greek authorities present at the event.
The Hellenic Institute of Transportation Engineers organised in the 9th of February a seminar for the traffic issues of the Attica Municipalities. NTUA presented “Measures and policies for the reduction of accidents at the urban road network – successful interventions”.
A research titled ‘When may road fatalities start to decrease?’ co-authored by G.Yannis, C.Antoniou, E.Papadimitriou and D.Katsohis from NTUA, was published in the Journal of Safety Research in February 2011. This research, carried out within the framework of SafetyNet project proposed a simple and, at the same time, reliable multiple regime model framework for international road safety comparisons, allowing for the identification of slope changes of personal risk curves and respective breakpoints. All countries examined, present a breakpoint after which road fatalities are decreasing, ranging from 220 to 360 vehicles per 1.000 inhabitants.
The Transportation Research Board (TRB) 90th Annual Meeting was held in Washington, D.C., in January 2011. NTUA presented ‘Modeling traffic fatalities in Europe’. The objective of this paper is to provide a parsimonious model for linking motorization level with the decreasing fatality rates observed across EU countries during the last three decades.
The Handbook for Safe Driving at an Older Age has been prepared by the Department of Transportation Planning and Engineering of NTUA under the scientific supervision of Prof. G.Kanellaidis, in the framework of a project granted by the Ministry of Infrastructure, Transport and Networks. The Handbook aims to assist older drivers increase their self-awareness of the effects of age-related changes on their driving safety and of the need to adapt their driving behavior, to assist older drivers improve their knowledge and develop appropriate concern for their own safety, and finally to guide older drivers to make informed driving decisions.
The Handbook was based on self-screening and educational material for older drivers as well as on the results of a study on the driving behavior of active older drivers, aged 65-74, on a freeway in Greece. Issues covered in the Handbook concern safety within the car, safety in traffic, safe practices on freeway, driving and emotion, driving in good condition, driving problems and age-related changes, indications of serious concern about driving ability and general information such as on procedures for driving license renewal, use of public transport and ways of getting around. The Handbook is available both in Greek and English languages.
In line with the implementation of the UN Decade of Action for Road Safety, the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) and the Black Sea Economic Cooperation (BSEC) co-organised under the Greek Chairmanship-in-office of BSEC and the auspices of the Hellenic Ministry of Infrastructure, Transport & Networks, the Conference on Improving Road Safety in the BSEC Region in Ioannina, Greece on 18-19 November 2010. NTUA presented a Road Safety Strategy for Greece.
The 11th International Walk21 Conference was held in The Hague, The Netherlands, November 16-19 2010. NTUA presented ‘Evolution of pedestrian safety in urban areas in the OECD countries‘.
The Directorate General for Enlargement of the European Commission TAIEX and the Federation Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA) organised the international conference on Charting Commitments to Road Safety in Europe. The conference took place in Brussels (12 – 13 October 2010). NTUA presented ‘An Observatory for Road Safety – a framework for the efficiency assessment of road safety measures’.
In October 2010, ETSC published a PIN Flash concerning road safety in rural roads. At least 21,500 people lost their lives on rural roads other than motorways in the EU im 2009. Luxembourg, Portugal and France achieved the highest annual reductions of more than 9% on average since 2001. Greece’s annual percentage reduction is almost the same with EU average reductions (-5%).
Impact of the conversation with passenger, eating and smoking on driver behavior and road safety 2010
A Diploma Thesis titled ‘Investigation of the impact of the conversation with passenger, eating and smoking on the driver behavior and the probability of being involved in an accident by the use of a driving simulator’ was presented by Charalampos Bairamis and Vasileios Sklias in October 2010. From the lognormal regression models developed it appeared that conversation, eating and smoking lead to a statistically significant decrease in speed, while the difficult conversation leads also to an increase in reaction time and decrease in the distance of the vehicle from the right borderline. From the binary logistic model developed it appeared that the difficult conversation leads to an increased likelihood of an incident. In summary, it appears that the lower speed and the deviation to the right of the drivers who have a difficult conversation while driving cannot offset the much greater risk of an accident due to increased reaction time.
In September 2010, UNECE published the report “Consolidated Resolution on Road Signs and Signals”. The concept of ‘self-explanatory’ roads encompasses many different elements of the design, layout and operation of the road network. However, this term serves well to illustrate the need to create an environment that can be easily understood and safely operated by all its users. The Road Safety Forum has been mandated by the United Nations General Assembly to review this fundamental area and to make provisions for road signs and signals that are in line with the requirements of ever growing motorization.
The Aegean University organised the international symposium for Road Safety – European Reality and Perspectives: A New Interdisciplinary Approach. The conference took place in Chios and its duration was 24-25 September. NTUA presented ‘Driver distraction and Road Safety in Greece and internationally’.
A research titled ‘Estimation of fatality and injury risk by means of in-depth fatal accident investigation data’, co-authored by G.Yannis, E.Papadimitriou, E.Dupont and H.Martensen was published in the Journal Traffic Injury Prevention in September 2010. A fatal accident investigation (FAI) database is used, which includes intermediate-level in-depth data for a harmonized representative sample of 1300 fatal accidents in 7 European countries. The results of this research show that the baseline fatality risk of road users involved in fatal accidents decreases with accident size and increases with the vulnerability of the road user. On the contrary, accident size increases non-fatal injury risk of road users involved in fatal accidents.
In August 2010, UNECE published the report “Consolidated Resolution on Road Traffic”. Since 1947, road safety has been one of UNECE’s major concerns and for its Working Party on Road Trafic Safety, in particular. The Resolution contributes to road safety by encouraging safer operation and use of the road traffic system across borders. In this context, this document is considered to be a contribution by UNECE to improve road safety worldwide which also complements the activities of its global partners.
Investigation of the impact of road lighting on the frequency and the severity of road accidents 2010
A Diploma Thesis titled ‘Investigation of the impact of road lighting on the frequency and the severity of road accidents’ was presented by Nikolaos Mitzalis in July 2010.This diploma thesis has been awarded with the Ecocity award 2012. Suitably processed data were used from the database of the Department of Transportation Planning and Engineering of the National Technical University of Athens (NTUA) and lognormal regression models were developed. The application of these models led to the investigation of the influence of road lighting and other parameters such as weather conditions, accident type, vehicle type etc. on the number of casualties and injuries. It appears that road lighting contributes to the reduction of the number of accidents and their severity and that this influence increases with the increase of the severity of the accidents.
In July 2010, EU published the policy orientation on road safety 2011-2020. Road safety is a major societal issue. In 2009, more than 35,000 people died on the roads of the European Union. The cost for society is huge, representing approximately 130 billion Euro in 2009. Therefore, a corehent holistic and integrated approach is needed, taking into account synergies with other policy goals. Road safety policies at local, national, European or international level should integrate relevant objectives of other public policies and vice versa.
The 12th World Conference on Transport Research was held in Lisbon, Portugal. At the road safety sessions quite a few interesting papers were presented, some of them concerning research carried out by NTUA.
NTUA road safety presentations concerned:
The report “Research Projects and Studies 2001-2008“, published by the Directorate-General for Mobility and Transport of the European Commission, is a backround document for the preparation of the strategic guidelines for road safety up to 2020. The report highlights challenges and opportunities in road safety research in Europe, describing the contribution from the European Community’s Research Framework Programmes as well as from other research activities at European level and their impact on road transport safety sector.
In June 2010, ETSC published the results of the Annual PIN Report. As many as 34,900 people lost their lives in road collisions in 2009, this is still far more than the maximum of 27,000 which the EU set for 2010. Yet it is 19,500 fewer than in 2001 showing great progress has been made across the EU. Since 2001, road deaths have been cut by 36% in the EU27. Comparison of developments up to 2009 show that Latvia, Spain, Portugal and Estonia achieved the best reductions. Greece was ranked last before the last according to the ETSC report.
A research titled ‘Mobile phone use by young drivers: effects on traffic speed and headways’ co-authored by G.Yannis, E.Papadimitriou, X.Karekla and F.Kontodima was published in Transportation Planning and Technology in June 2010. A field survey was carried out in real road traffic conditions, in which drivers’ speeds and headways were measured while using or not using a mobile phone. Results show that mobile phone use leads to a statistically significant reduction in traffic speeds of young drivers in all types of traffic conditions.
Older Drivers’ Perception and Acceptance of In-Vehicle Devices for Traffic Safety and Traffic Efficiency 2010
A paper titled “Older Drivers’ Perception and Acceptance of In-Vehicle Devices for Traffic Safety and Traffic Efficiency” co-authored by G.Yannis, C.Antoniou, S.Vardaki and G.Kanellaidis was published in ASCE Journal of Transportation Engineering. A multitude of new technologies are emerging, many of which are either explicitly targeted to older drivers or expected to benefit them the most. However, these same older drivers are more likely to find adapting to the use of such technologies challenging. Therefore, understanding older drivers’ perception of such devices will allow experts to take the necessary steps to ensure their smoother acceptance and complete success of their deployment. Older respondents are, in general, more supportive of the considered in-vehicle technologies, while female respondents also show a higher willingness to adopt them.
World Health Organization (WHO) and the European Commission issued the final report on the progress made in preventing injury and promoting safety. It resulted in the development of a database of 47 country profiles compiled through a questionnaire survey and an inventory of national policies on preventing injuries and violence. The report assesses the implementation of 99 evidence-based programmes, which include not only five causes of unintentional injury and six types of violence, but also measures that alleviate socioeconomic inequalities in injuries and violence and tackle alcohol as a risk factor.
The World Health Organization (WHO) with the contribution of NTUA released the Manual on Road Traffic Injury Data Collection Systems, which emphasizes on the way to collect road safety data in each country in order to be useful for informing road safety practice. Reliable and accurate data are also needed to correctly identify problems, risk factors and priority areas, and to formulate strategy, set targets and monitor performance. Ongoing, data-led diagnosis and management of the leading road traffic injury problems enables appropriate action and resource allocation.
In May 2010, ETSC published a PIN Flash concerning speed, alcohol and the use of seat belts, which are the three main risk factors on the road. Data from the countries that monitor mean driving speeds in free-flowing traffic show that drivers have slowed down appreciably since 2001. Deaths attributed to drink driving have decreased somewhat faster than other road deaths since 2001 in the EU – by about 5.8%. Although obligatory in all Member States, seat belt use in light vehicles in the EU is estimated to be only 88% for front seats and as low as 72% for rear seats.
ACEM, under the framework of eSUM project, has released a booklet in seven languages with indications on which equipment to choose. Motorcycling apparel can help motorcycle, scooter and moped riders reducing the effects of accidents. Nonetheless the benefits of good quality motorcycling clothing are still widely underestimated.
A research titled ‘Theoretical framework for modeling pedestrians crossing behavior along a trip’ co-authored by E.Papadimitriou, G.Yannis and J.Golias from NTUA was published in ASCE Journal of Transportation Engineering in April 2010. A topological approach of pedestrian trip characteristics and crossing decisions is proposed, allowing consideration of distinct patterns of crossing behavior along a trip. Specific techniques from the family of discrete choice models are proposed for determining the number and location of pedestrians’ crossings, accounting for the hierarchical and dynamic nature of pedestrians’ decisions along a trip and a field survey method is presented.
The International Transport Forum (ITF) organised the 10th meeting of the International Traffic Data and Analysis Group (IRTAD) in Paris on 12-13 April.
A research titled ‘Estimation of the real number of road casualties in Europe’ co-authored by J.Broughton, M.Keigan, G.Yannis, P.Evgenikos, A.Chaziris, E.Papadimitriou, N. Bos, S.Hoeglinger, K.Perez, E.Amoros, P.Hollo and J.Tecl was published in the Journal Safety Science in March 2010. Within this research, the police under-reporting of non-fatal road accident casualties in eight European countries was examined by means of a common methodology applied in each country. For almost all countries, the actual number of serious casualties according to the new proposed definition was found lower than the number of police-recorded serious casualties.
A paper titled ‘Risk and protection factors in fatal accidents’ co-authored by E.Dupont, H.Martensen, E.Papadimitriou and G.Yannis was published in the Journal Accident Analysis and Prevention in March 2010. Two methodological issues were specifically discussed, namely the accident-size factors (the number of vehicles in the accident and their level of occupancy) and the comparability of the baseline risk. It is argued that – although these two issues are generally at play in accident severity analyses – their effects on, e.g., the estimation of survival probability, are exacerbated if the analysis is limited to fatal accident data.
A research titled ‘Heavy vehicle age and road safety’ co-authored by Z.Christoforou, M.Karlaftis and G.Yannis from NTUA, was published in the Proceedings of ICE – Transport in February 2010. Findings suggest that older vehicles have a 4.5 times higher accident involvement probability in comparison with newer vehicles, while accidents involving older CMVs have a 4 times higher probability of resulting in a fatality. Further analysis suggests that the mean per capita cost to tax payers from CMV accidents surpasses 100A per year, more than half of which is attributed to older vehicles. Measures to mitigate the problem are suggested.
Investigation of the impact of mobile phone use to driver behaviour and safety with the use of driving simulator 2010
A Diploma Thesis titled ‘Investigation of the impact of mobile phone use to driver behaviour and safety with the use of driving simulator’ was presented by Leonidas Roumpas in February 2010. Lognormal regression and binary logistic methods were used to investigate the influence of mobile phone use as well as various other parameters on the mean speed and the probability of an accident. From the models application it appears that mobile phone use leads to a statistically significant decrease of the mean speed in urban and interurban environment and to an increase of accident’s probability, probably due to distraction of driver attention and as a result, delayed reaction time at the moment of the incident. It appeared that in rainy conditions drivers did not present different driving behaviour, however, they had a high probability of being involved in an accident.
A Ph.D. Thesis titled ‘Pedestrian behaviour and safety models in urban road networks‘ was presented by Eleonora Papadimitriou in February 2010. A topological consideration of the urban road network was opted for, allowing to identify basic properties of pedestrian trips and crossings, an algorithm was also developed for the estimation of the choice sets related to crossing decisions along a trip and a discrete choice modeling approach is proposed for crossing choices. The proposed methodology was demonstrated by means of models implementation on a typical urban trip for different scenarios.
The Transportation Research Board (TRB) 89th Annual Meeting took place in Washington, D.C., in January 2010. NTUA presented ‘Weather Effects on Daily Traffic Accidents and Fatalities: A Time Series Count Data Approach‘ . The impact of weather conditions on traffic safety is a topic that has attracted considerable interest in the literature.
A research titled ‘A critical assessment of pedestrian behaviour models’ co-authored by E.Papadimitriou, G.Yannis and J.Golias from NTUA by was published in the Journal Transportation Research Part F: Traffic Psychology and Behaviour in 2009. In this paper an exhaustive review of the existing route choice models for pedestrians is presented. The results of this review reveal a lack of an overall and detailed consideration of pedestrian behaviour along an entire trip in urban areas. Moreover, the need for an integrated approach based on flexibility, disaggregation and more determinism is identified.
In November 2009, ETSC published a PIN Flash concerning road injuries. Road deaths represent only the “tip of the iceberg” of traffic collisions. For every road death in the EU, at least 44 road injuries are recorded, of which 8 are categorised as “serious”. In Romania, Norway, Hungary and Spain changes in road deaths and serious injuries followed almost a similar pace, in Luxembourg, France, the Netherlands, Bulgaria and Sweden reductions in road deaths exceeded by far the reductions in recorded serious injuries, whereas in Slovenia, Latvia, Ireland and Greece injuries decreased faster than deaths.
The impact of speed enforcement on road safety has been highlighted at the recently released synthesis of the European Road Safety Observatory as prepared by the SafetyNet project. Traffic law enforcement influences driving behaviour through two processes: general deterrence and specific deterrence. Positive effects of speed enforcement on both speeding behaviour and the number of crashes are reported.
Road safety of novice drivers has been highlighted at the recently released synthesis of the European Road Safety Observatory as prepared by the SafetyNet project. Novice drivers pose a greater risk to themselves, their passengers and to other road users than other drivers do. In most countries, novice drivers, under the age of 25, account for the largest share of traffic crashes and fatalities.
Mobile telephone use as a major road safety issue has been highlighted at the recently released synthesis of the European Road Safety Observatory as prepared by the SafetyNet project. A range of studies conclude that the use of a mobile phone while driving distracts the driver and causes various changes in driving behaviour that negatively affect traffic safety. Driver reaction times are 30% slower when telephoning while driving than driving with BAC levels of 80mg/100ml and 50% slower than under normal driving conditions.
Road safety of Powered two wheelers has been highlighted at the recently released synthesis of the European Road Safety Observatory as prepared by the SafetyNet project. PTW’s are more popular in southern European countries. Greece has the highest ownership rate with 150 mopeds and 100 motorcycles per 1000 inhabitants.The total number of PTW fatalities in 2005 in Europe was 7030, which is 15% of all traffic fatalities. 50% of fatally injured moped riders were under the age of 25.
Speeding as a major road safety issue has been highlighted at the recently released synthesis of the European Road Safety Observatory as prepared by the SafetyNet project. Speeding is one of the biggest road safety problems, consisting as a key factor in about 30% of fatal road accidents. It also greatly increases the risk of an accident. Some 40- 50% of drivers drive faster than the recommended speed limit and 10- 20% exceed the limit by more than 10 km/h. Not only does speeding raise the risk of a crash, it also increases the likelihood of severe injuries or death from an accident.
Post-impact care is a strategy which aims to reduce the severity of injury consequences once a road traffic crash has occurred. Post-impact care has been highlighted at the recently released synthesis of the European Road Safety Observatory as prepared by the SafetyNet project. Despite the fact that the cost of years of life lost from road trauma is larger than from cancer or cardio-vascular diseases, the attention paid by health policymakers, by the medical community and by the road safety field to trauma-related care and research has been disproportionately small so far.
The road safety problem of Pedestrians and Cyclists has been highlighted at the recently released synthesis of the European Road Safety Observatory as prepared by the SafetyNet project. Walking and cycling are transport modes where relatively unprotected road users interact with traffic of high speed and mass, 20-40% of all journeys are travelled by cycle or on foot. Of all traffic fatalities in EU countries, the proportion of pedestrian fatalities is about 17% and the proportion of cyclist fatalities is about 6%.
Work-related road safety has been highlighted at the recently released synthesis of the European Road Safety Observatory as prepared by the SafetyNet project. Work-related motor vehicle road crashes occur at the workplace and in driving associated with work (excluding commuting). Most work-related crashes involve company cars. Scientific understanding and monitoring of key problem areas, solutions and their effects on road and occupational crash injury, however, is limited and needs to be developed further.
Vehicle Safety has been highlighted at the recently released synthesis of the European Road Safety Observatory as prepared by the SafetyNet project. Improving vehicle safety is a key strategy used in addressing international and national road casualty reduction targets and in achieving a safer road traffic system. Vehicle safety addresses the safety of all road users and currently comprises measures to help crash avoidance and crash protection. Substantial and evidence-based improvements have been made in the last 15 years and research has identified large scope for enhancing vehicle safety further.
The road safety problem of older drivers has been highlighted at the recently released synthesis of the European Road Safety Observatory as prepared by the SafetyNet project. Older drivers have the second highest fatality rate. Only the youngest group of drivers (18-and 19-year olds) has a higher fatality rate. Older drivers are not so much a risk to others, but they are at risk themselves. This means that older drivers are not a risk to others’ transport safety, but they are frailer, making them vulnerable to personal injury or fatality risk in the event of a crash.
An introduction to the safety rating systems in use internationally has been highlighted at the recently released synthesis of the European Road Safety Observatory as prepared by the SafetyNet project. Safety rating systems present impartial information on aspects of traffic system safety. Safety ratings in use today are objective tools for the assessment and improvement of aspects of the safety of vehicles, the road network, work-related road safety and international safety performance. Safety ratings in use either predict safety outcomes for given designs or provide a retrospective assessment based on crash data.
The elements of the road safety management system have been highlighted at the recently released synthesis of the European Road Safety Observatory as prepared by the SafetyNet project. Based on current knowledge, fatal and long term crash injury is largely predictable, largely avoidable and a problem amenable to rational analysis and remedy. Safety is produced, just like other goods and services and the production process is viewed as a management system with three levels: institutional management functions produce interventions, which in turn produce results.
Road design has been highlighted at the recently released synthesis of the European Road Safety Observatory as prepared by the SafetyNet project. Many of the basic principles for good road design were developed up to 40 years ago, and are still valid today. Although further refinements have been explored since then, there still remains uncertainty about relationships associated with design details and recent engineering innovations. Road infrastructure should be designed taking account of the same injury tolerance criteria as those developed for vehicle occupant protection and pedestrian impacts, so that roads and vehicles together provide an effective safety system.
Quantitative road safety targets has been highlighted at the recently released synthesis of the European Road Safety Observatory as prepared by the SafetyNet project. Quantitative targets represent the road safety results which a country or jurisdiction wishes to achieve over a given time frame. Targets provide the focus for the national road safety strategy and the level of their ambition drive decisions about coordination needs, legislative needs, funding and resource allocation, promotion needs, monitoring and evaluation, as well as research, development and knowledge transfer.
A Cost-benefit analysis has been released by the European Road Safety Observatory as prepared by the SafetyNet project. A recent road safety impact assessment is used to illustrate the findings of cost-benefit analyses of road safety measures, showing which measures are found to be the most cost-effective. There is still a large potential for improving road safety by using cost-effective road safety measures. Analyses in Norway and Sweden – both of which are comparatively safe countries – suggest that fatality reductions of about 50 % can be realised by applying cost-effective measures.
Fatigue as a road safety issue has been highlighted at the recently released synthesis of the European Road Safety Observatory as prepared by the SafetyNet project. Fatigue leads to a deterioration of driving performance, manifesting itself in slower reaction time, diminished steering performance, lesser ability to keep distance to the car in front, and increased tendency to mentally withdraw from the driving task. Fatigue is a major factor in a large proportion of road crashes (range 10-20%). A person who drives after being awake for 17 hours has a risk of crashing equivalent to being at the 0.05 blood alcohol level (i.e. twice the normal risk).