The Civil Engineering School of the National Technical University of Athens was ranked this year 18th in Europe and 50th worldwide among all Civil Engineering Schools. This ranking is produced by the QS Organisation (QS World University Rankings by Subject 2022) based on the following criteria: Research, Teaching, Employability, Facilities, Internationalization, Innovation, Engagement and Access. NTUA road safety activities have contributed to this ranking.
The Ministry of Infrastructure and Transport developed the National Road Safety Strategic Plan for the period 2021-2030, with the scientific support of the Department of Transport Planning and Engineering of the National Technical University of Athens (NTUA). The National Road Safety Strategic Plan 2021-2030 exploits state-of-the-art international experience and good practice, adjusted to the Greek reality and contains a set of 44 actions and 200 measures with concrete budget and timeplan addressing the key road safety problems in Greece: speeding and motorcycle traffic; aiming to meet the quantitative targets set for the reduction of the number of fatalities and serious injuries in road crashes by 50% by 2030. Within the current final open consultation process you are welcome to submit your remarks and comments.
The Horizon 2020 research project SHOW (SHared automation Operating models for Worldwide adoption) has recently released the SHOW 4th Newsletter. The Newsletter shares very interesting times for the project, with the first pilot sites progressing with their large-scale trials in public, allowing citizens to experience their automated solutions in public transport.
Τhe European Transport Safety Council (ETSC) together with environmental and road safety organisations, has written to the European Commissioners responsible for Climate Action, Energy, Environment and Transport, calling for recommendations on lower speed limits as a way of tackling dependence on Russian oil, as well as emissions and road deaths. The six organisations say that with the catastrophic invasion of Ukraine, European reliance on Russian oil has become a strategic threat and the current crisis requires bold action.
The European Commission announced the winners of the European sustainable mobility Αwards, where Rethymno (Greece) won the EU Urban Road Safety Award. The jury was impressed by Rethymno’s inclusive approach to road safety, which targets three main pillars: upgrading the public transport system, increasing and encouraging behavioural change through a variety of activities, and the establishment of integrated cooperation with local stakeholders. The awards were presented at a hybrid ceremony in Brussels hosted by Matthew Baldwin, Deputy Director-General of the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Transport and Mobility.
The Third Meeting of the Road Safety Governmental Committee was held on 31 March at the Hellenic Ministry of Infrastructure and Transport. The main priorities of the Government Road Safety Committee are the new National Road Safety Strategic Plan for the period 2021-2030, the new Road Safety Law and the improvements of the Road Traffic Code, the National Road Safety Repository and the National Road Safety Observatory. Participants in the committee were: the Minister of State Akis Skertsos, the Deputy Minister of Infrastructure and Transport Michalis Papadopoulos, the Deputy Minister of Citizen Protection Eleftherios Oikonomou, the Deputy Minister of Education and Religious Affairs Zeta Makri, the Alternate Minister of Health Mina Gaga, the Alternate Minister of Interior Stelios Petsas, on behalf of the Deputy Minister to the Prime Minister Theodoros Livanios the General Secretary of Digital Governance and Procedures Leonidas Christopoulos and the General Secretary of Transport Giannis Xifaras.
The Road Safety Institute “Panos Mylonas” (RSI) in cooperation with the Hellenic Institute of Transportation Engineers (HITE) presented the Digital Platform DRIVE IN THE MOMENT, on March 21, in the context of the 15th Panhellenic Road Safety Week, March 21-27, 2022. The Minister of Infrastructure and Transport, Mr. Costas Karamanlis, who attended the event, referred to the National Plan for Road Safety, which extends to four main axes: Safe Roads – Responsible Drivers – Traffic Education – Fair Rules for All and welcome the initiative of the “Drive in the Moment” program, which aims to raise awareness, especially among young people, about the serious issue of distraction by using a mobile phone while driving.
A Special Road Safety Event attended by the European Road Safety Coordinator, Matthew Baldwin and the Executive Director of the European Transport Safety Council ETSC, Antonio Avenoso, was successfully organized by the member of the European Parliament Elena Kountoura in Athens, on 14 March 2022. The guests presented and analyzed the goals, the challenges and the opportunities for improving road safety in the European Union the following years.
The European Commission aiming to improve road safety and in order to prepare a Revision of the current Directive on driving licences, is opening a call for expressions of interest to participate in a series of workshops on EU rules regarding driving licenses. These three workshops aim to collect stakeholders’ views for the purpose of preparing a possible revision of the Directive on driving licences. Each workshop will tackle a specific element of the EU driving license rules: 1: training, testing and vehicle categories; 2: issuance and mutual recognition of driving licenses; and 3: driving disqualifications and fitness to drive.
The 2021 infographic of NTUA Road Safety Observatory (www.nrso.ntua.gr) highlights one more very intensive and highly fruitful year, despite the pandemic. The nrso scientific team with high dedication, efficiency and expertise continues to grow and excel, being active in 31 innovative research projects, succeeded to publish a record number of 78 scientific papers (28 in peer reviewed journals), and travelled around the world in hundreds of webmeetings (and some in-person meetings) to develop and promote road safety science.
This year, besides intensive research in six Horizon 2020 projects and three innovative national research projects, we were also lucky to contribute to the National Road Safety Action Plan 2021-2030. Getting ready for the post-pandemic period, we are more than ever committed to our scientific quest for safer roads everywhere and for all. And of course we are waiting you all in-person at the highly promising 8th Road Safety and Simulation Conference in June in Athens.
The European Commission presented its ‘Sustainable and Smart Mobility Strategy’ together with an Action Plan of 82 initiatives as a guide for the next four years. This strategy lays the foundation for how the EU transport system can achieve its green and digital transformation and become more resilient to future crises. Traffic safety is a major component of the EU Mobility Strategy. As outlined in the European Green Deal, the result will be a 90% cut in emissions by 2050, delivered by a smart, competitive, safe, accessible and affordable transport system.
Getting into 2022, we continue progressing in our scientific excellence quests with persistence, dedication and passion to promoting evidence-based safe mobility everywhere and for all. The decade targets and programs for safer roads everywhere are well set globally and it is now time to sincerely include traffic safety into the mobility agenda and start implementing vision zero traffic fatalities. We thank you all for the excellent cooperation and we are sending you our very best wishes for Merry Christmas and a Very Lucky New Year, full of personal and professional achievements.
The Horizon 2020 project LEVITATE (Societal Level Impacts of Connected and Automated Vehicles) released a video explaining the LEVITATE Policy Support Tool, which is expected to be an open access, web-based Decision Support System that will allow users to explore the impact assessment, forecasting and backcasting of different CCAM development scenarios in cities.
The Horizon 2020 project i-DREAMS (smart Driver Environment Assesment and Monitoring System) recently released its 4th Newsletter, presenting the main accomplishments of the project, through creative solutions and risk mitigation strategies. The Newsletter presents team’s and participant’s view on the Belgian field trial, seven new technical reports submitted in 2021 and several i-DREAMS dissemination activities.
The Horizon 2020 research project SHOW (SHared automation Operating models for Worldwide adoption) has recently released the SHOW 3rd Newsletter. The Newsletter provides information on latest achievements and upcoming activities of the project. Also, there is an open call for follower sites, which will allow all cities in Europe to endorse and replicate SHOW activities.
European Commission – Supplementing Regulation on vehicles’ intelligent speed assistance systems, November 2021
The European Commission adopted a supplementing Regulation (EU) 2019/2144 of the European Parliament and of the Council by laying down detailed rules concerning the specific test procedures and technical requirements for the type-approval of motor vehicles with regard to their intelligent speed assistance systems and for the type-approval of those systems as separate technical units. The Regulation also includes a list of road speed limit signs used in each Member State.
The European Commission published a breakdown of fatalities in the EU by road user and (other) “main vehicle” involved in the crash. The matrix shows clearly that fatalities overwhelmingly occur in collisions involving cars and trucks, and the need to increase the protection of vulnerable road users such as pedestrians and cyclists. EU policies are already evolving in this direction with the new mandatory safety measures introduced by the General Safety Regulation focussed on VRUs.
The European Commission published the final figures on road fatalities for 2020, following the publication of the preliminary figures in April 2021. These figures show that an estimated 18.800 people were killed in a road crash last year, an unprecedented annual fall of 17% on 2019, largely due to the effect of the COVID pandemic on mobility; however this fatalities drop being proportionately less than the sharp fall in traffic levels across the EU. The Commission has also published the Country Profiles which provide a detailed statistical analysis of the road safety situation in each country.
The European Commission hosted the annual Excellence in Road Safety Awards on 18 November 2021, recognising the contributions of the European Road Safety Charter‘s community of members towards the common goal of improved road safety across Europe. Fundatia Siguranta Auto Copii (Romania) was the winner for its National Children Care Safety Caravan initiative, Interpolis (the Netherlands) for its hip-hop film and PhoNo app targeting teenagers, Cork County Council (Ireland) for its Road Safety Virtual Reality Education and Fundacion Educatrafic (Spain) for its road safety training and education.
In the framework of three-year twinning program of the European Union Member States “EU Road Safety Exchange“, a delegation from the Hellenic Ministry of Infrastructure and Transport together with representatives of the European Transport Safety Council (ETSC) participated in the 2nd two-day study visit that took place in Madrid on 10-11 November 2021. This study visit was hosted by the Directorate for Traffic (DGT) of the competent Ministry of Spain and its topic was powered two wheelers (PTW) safety. The participants heard among others about the Spanish strategic approach to improving the safety of powered two wheelers.
NTUA Professor George Yannis is ranked 2nd most productive European Scientist in Road Safety Research (11th globally and at the top 0.1% of all Scientists in the field), according to recent rankings from Expertscape‘s PubMed-based algorithms for the last 10 years. According to the same rankings, NTUA Road Safety research productivity is ranked 4th in Europe (and within the top 40 Universities globally).
The Hellenic Ministry of Infrastructure and Transport proposed the New Driving Safely Law, which has been recently adopted by the Greek Parliament. The new law reforms the driving examinations’ framework, with the priority of ensuring the integrity of the procedure and the promotion of road safety. Among other things, the new safety net consists of double identity checks, camera recordings during the exams and collection of the audiovisual reports. Also, a temporary driving license is foreseen for young people aged 17 years old, who will be able to drive only within their residence area accompanied with a co-driver of over 25 years old holding a driving license for at least 5 years.
- TRAVisions 2022 Young Researcher Competition, is aimed at university and technical institute students pursuing bachelor, master and PhD degrees
- TRAVisions 2022 Senior Researcher Competition, a competition for senior researchers in the field of innovative surface transport concepts based on results only from EU-funded projects
The World Health Oganisation (WHO) opened the Decade of Action for Road Safety 2021-2030 in Geneva, with the ambitious target of preventing at least 50% of road traffic deaths and injuries by 2030. WHO and the UN Regional Commissions, in cooperation with other partners in the UN Road Safety Collaboration, have developed a Global Plan for the Decade of Action. Road traffic accidents have remained a major cause of death globally, even though every one of those deaths and injuries is preventable. A Global Plan has been developed to support the implementation of the Decade of Action and its objectives.
The 15th European Night Without Crashes was celebrated with great success on 16 October 2021 in most European countries. In Greece, the Road Safety Institute “Panos Mylonas” (RSI), EFTHITA Rhodes, AOLAP, KEDE, Road Traffic Police, OASA and other associations participated and supported the action, in order to raise awareness on the consequences of driving under the influence of alcohol, aiming to a world without road fatalities.
The European Parliament has voted overwhelmingly for road safety measures to reach zero deaths on EU roads by 2050. The vote was based on the EP Transport and Tourism Committee Report on Recommendations on next steps towards “Vision Zero”, which suggests key priorities and include key measures such as among others: 30km/h city speed limits, Zero-tolerance for drink-driving, the European Road Safety Agency, etc.
The Deputy Ministry of Sport in collaboration with Motorsport Greece, in the framework of EKO Rally Acropolis, organized a Road Safety Event, in Athens, on 8 September. Highlight of the event, was a simulated collision and rescue of an injured person, supervised by NTUA. Specifically, a passenger car performed a free fall from a height of 10 metres, only to hit the ground at a speed of 50 km/h. During the event, two strong road safety messages were displayed: “Always wear a seat belt in the car, wherever you sit” and “We always wear a helmet and protectors on the bike”.
The Road Safety Institute “Panos Mylonas” (RSI), organised the 16th Year Anniversary Event of the Institute, under the auspices of H.E. the President of the Hellenic Republic, Katerina Sakellaropoulou, at the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center (SNFCC), on 9 September. The message of the event was: “With a vision, we grow stronger TOGETHER” and it was attended by a number of personalities, representatives of the country’s leadership, politicians, executives from the Public and Private sector and other important social partners who pledged the commitment to improving Road Safety in Greece.
Eva Michelaraki, NTUA PhD Candidate & Researcher, received the Young Researcher Best Paper on Road Safety Αward 2021 during the International Congress on Transport Research 2021. The Award is granted jointly by the Hellenic Institute of Transportation Engineers (HITE), the Hellenic Institute of Transport (HIT/CERTH), and the Hellenic Association of Toll Road Network (Hellastron). The award concerned the paper entitled: “Modelling the Safety Tolerance Zone: Recommendations from the i-DREAMS project”, co-authored by Christos Katrakazas, Tom Brijs and George Yannis.
The General Assembly of the United Nations (UN) decided that a high‑level meeting on improving global road safety will be held in New York in 2022, right after the Economic and Social Council’s high-level political forum on sustainable development, under the theme of “The 2030 horizon for road safety: securing a decade of action and delivery”. The meeting will adopt a concise, action-oriented political decision to be submitted by the President of the General Assembly for adoption by that organ.
The project EDWARD (Every Day Without A Road Death) is organising a Week of Action under the theme: Fit for the Road, on 13-17 September. A number of Road Trips aim to showcase great examples of road planning, design and engineering, the safest vehicles, nationwide efforts to deter dangerous behaviour and advances in emergency post-crash care.
Voi Technology recently published the Voi’s Annual Safety Report with the active contribution of NTUA, under the theme Safer streets with shared micro-mobility, intended to increase transparency and foster a dialogue on how shared micro-mobility can make cities safer. The report covers Voi’s actions to improve road safety, insights on safety risks and opportunities for shared micro-mobility across Europe. Heavy, fast-moving vehicles present the greatest road safety risks, and lack of safe road infrastructure is a significant risk for all lightweight travellers.
The sixth Newsletter of the Horizon 2020 project BeOpen (European forum and observatory for open science in transport) was recently released with all the latest developments and the deliverables of the project. This Newsletter focused on the BeOpen final event, which took place online on June 9, 2021, with presentations and discussions helpful for a better understanding of open science and how the BE OPEN project helped to move the concept forward in the transport domain.
Transport MEPs say that the goal of zero deaths on European roads by 2050 (Vision Zero) calls for more robust measures on road safety, such as, 30 km/h speed limit, zero-tolerance for drink-driving and more safety features in infrastructure and vehicles. Transport MEPs call on the Commission to establish a European road transport agency to support sustainable, safe and smart road transport and to consider the incorporation of a “driving safe mode” for mobile and electronic devices of drivers in order to inhibit distractions while driving.
Greece was awarded with the 2021 Annual Road Safety Award of the European Transport Safety Council for achieving the 2010-2020 target of reducing road fatalities by 50% (performing 54% decrease from 1.258 road fatalities in 2010 to 579 in 2020), making also NTUA proud of its contribution. This significant improvement over the last decade is the result of constantly increasing effort by the Public Authorities and all road safety stakeholders on infrastructure improvements (new motorways, new urban mobility schemes, etc.), legislation (new traffic fines scheme, driving licence, etc.), campaigns and education schemes. As a result, Greek drivers changed significantly their safety behaviour, initially triggered by the economic crisis but maintained also well after, demonstrated in a constantly improving road safety culture of a more mature society. However, even if Greece progressed from 26th to 20th position during the decade, collective efforts should continue as it still lags well behind the EU average.
The 4th Newsletter of the EU funded Horizon 2020 project Levitate (Societal Level Impacts of Connected and Automated Vehicles) was recently released focusing on the results of the latest Levitate Webinar titled “Road safety assessment of automated vehicles“, and on several events and news on Road Safety.
The Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA), in collaboration with the International Transport Forum (ITF), has launched the FIA Disabled Motoring Website. The FIA Disabled Motoring website provides access to information on facilities and options for people with disabilities travelling by car in different countries around the world. It is based on data collected from FIA Member Clubs and ITF Member States around the globe. The website is also a resource for everyone travelling outside their own country who are unsure about the rules and conditions for disabled drivers.
EFTHITA Rhodes participated very actively in the Sixth UN Global Road Safety Week with several actions promoting speed limits of 30km/h in urban areas. Cyclists’ teams joined the cause and posters for road safety were distributed with the messages #StreetsforLife and #Love30, to raise awareness on how low-speed streets can save lives.
The first meeting of the Road Safety Governmental Committee was held on 9 June 2021 at the Hellenic Ministry of Infrastructure and Transport. The Road Safety Governmental Committee holds the administrative accountability of planning, implementing and supervising the National Road Safety Action Plan. In the meeting, there was a presentation of data regarding the basic pillars of the Action Plan, as well as an evaluation of the actions taken towards the Plan’s implementation. Participants in the committee were: the Deputy Minister of Infrastructure and Transport Yannis Kefalogiannis as chairman, the Deputy Minister of Citizen Protection Eleftherios Oikonomou as vice-chairman, the Alternate Minister of Interior Stelios Petsas, the Alternate Minister of Health Vasilis Kontozamanis, the Deputy Minister of Education and Religious Affairs Zeta Makri and the Deputy Minister of Digital Governance Georgios Georgantas.
The Civil Engineering School of the National Technical University of Athens was ranked 4th globally (2nd in Europe) according to ShanghaiRanking’s Global Ranking of Academic Subjects (GRAS) 2021, being the best performance of any Higher Education School in Greece. The GRAS use a range of objective academic indicators and third-party data to measure the performance of world universities in respective subjects, including research output, research influence, international collaboration, research quality, and international academic awards. NTUA road safety activities have contributed to this ranking.
The European Commission officially relaunched its European Road Safety Charter, the largest platform on road safety in civil society, to support the Vision Zero ambition of reducing road deaths to almost zero by 2050. The Charter was founded in 2004 by the Road Safety Unit of DG Move as part of its Road Safety Action Programme. To create more awareness and to have a bigger presence at the local and national level, DG MOVE will work intensively with a network of National Relays in the 27 EU Member States.
Professor Dinesh Mohan passed away on 21 May 2021. Mohan was one of the world’s leading experts on traffic safety issues and human tolerance to injury. His work has significantly advanced motorcycle helmet design, pedestrian and bicyclist safety and child restraint regulations, and helped develop safer ways for various modes of transportation to safely share the roadways. During his distinguished career he was the recipient of many honours and awards, including the 1991 International Association for Accident & Traffic Medicine’s International Award and Medal for Outstanding Achievement in the Field of Traffic Medicine.
RSI P.Mylonas together with the Cyprus Automobile Association (CAA) and within the framework of the Sixth UN Global Road Safety Week, organised with great success a series of Actions and Events under the theme “Roads for Life“, which took place on 17-23 May. The aim of the campaign was to inform and to contribute to the pledge of the UN Global Road Safety Week, through the presentation of four informational videos and the promotion of an online petition on a legislation for speed limits of 30km/h in urban areas, endorsed also by NTUA.
Spatial analysis of harsh driving behavior events in urban networks using high-resolution smartphone and geometric data, July 2021
A paper titled “Spatial analysis of harsh driving behavior events in urban networks using high-resolution smartphone and geometric data” authored by Apostolos Ziakopoulos was recently published in Accident Analysis & Prevention. Naturalistic driving big data collected through the OSeven smartphone application were map-matched to the segments that each driver traversed, and thus geometrical, road network and driver behavior spatial data frames were obtained per road segment. Segment length and pass count are positively correlated with harsh braking frequencies, while gradient and neighbourhood complexity are negatively correlated with harsh braking frequencies. Curvature, segment length, pass count and the presence of traffic lights are positively correlated with harsh acceleration frequencies.
The New Traffic Safety Research Interdisciplinary Journal aims to become a reference point for the international research community within the domain of road safety. The Journal’s overaching objective is to contribute to the global shift to the Safe System paradigm within the road transportation domain. The journal promotes publication of innovative research within engineering, psychology, sociology, medicine and other related fields in attempt to explain and address the phenomenon of road casualties. Proactive methods and analyses as well as multidisciplinary views on the road traffic safety problems are encouraged.
The Horizon 2020 research project SHOW (SHared automation Operating models for Worldwide adoption) has recently released the SHOW 2nd Newsletter. The Newsletter provides a short overview of the technical progress at demo sites and project level, as well as a selection of fresh outputs relevant to share with the wider CCAM community, including for example a market analysis of mobility services, a first version of the SHOW open modular system architecture and an introduction to the tool that will be used to collect user opinions on social media.
A paper titled “Identifying the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on driving behavior using naturalistic driving data and time series forecasting” authored by Christos Katrakazas, Eva Michelaraki, Marios Sekadakis, Apostolos Ziakopoulos, Armira Kontaxi and George Yannis is published in Journal of Safety Research. Based on data collected through the OSeven smartphone application, the results of this Paper revealed the intensity of the impact of COVID-19 on driving, especially on average speed, speeding, and harsh braking per 100 km. Road crashes in Greece were reduced by 49% during the months of COVID-19 compared to the non-COVID-19 period.
Investigation of accidents involving powered two wheelers and bicycles – A European in-depth study, February 2021
A paper titled “Investigation of accidents involving powered two wheelers and bicycles – A European in-depth study” authored by L.Brown, A.Morris, P.Thomas, K.Ekambaram, D.Margaritis, R.Davidse, D.Shingo Usami, M.Robibaro, L.Persia, I.Buttler, A.Ziakopoulos, A.Theofilatos, G.Yannis, A.Martin and F.Wadji, is published in Journal of Safety Research. Highly detailed data have been collected for 500 accidents involving PTWs or bicycles in the EU, which were analyzed on a case-study basis and led to detailed insights on such accidents. Analysis results suggest that ‘looked but failed to see’ remains a common cause, and in many cases the actions of the other vehicle were the critical factor, though PTW rider speed or inexperience played a role in some cases.
The European Commission announced the winners of the European sustainable mobility Αwards. Mönchengladbach was winner of the EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK Award 2020 for larger municipalities, while Lilienthal for smaller municipalities. The 9th SUMP Award was won by Greater Grenoble Area Mobility Authority (SMMAG) for Grenoble-Alpes SUMP, and the EU Urban Road Safety Award went to Bilbao. The awards were presented during an online ceremony hosted by European Commissioner for Transport, Adina Vălean, and Deputy Director-General of the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Transport and Mobility, Matthew Baldwin.
According to the European Commission almost 4.000 (-17%) fewer people lost their lives on EU roads in 2020 compared to 2019. Lower traffic volumes, as the result of the Covid-19 pandemic, had a clear impact on the number of road fatalities. Over the previous decade between 2010 and 2020, the number of road deaths dropped by 36%. This was short of the target of 50% fewer deaths that had been set for that decade. However, with 42 road deaths per 1 million inhabitants, the EU has the safest roads in the world.
The Hellenic Ministry of Infrastructure and Transport proposed the New Mobility and e-scooter Law which has been recently adopted by the Greek Government. This Law sets the framework for the development of Sustainable Urban Mobility Plans (SUMPs), with several provisions for traffic and road infrastructure safety upgrade. Moreover, within this Law, traffic rules for Personal Light Electric Vehicles (e-scooters, etc.) are set for the first time, including compulsory use of helmet and reflective clothing (at night), use of sidewalk for up to 6km/h PLEV design speed (like pedestrians), use of the road for PLEV design speed between 6 and 25km/h (like cyclists) and traffic ban for PLEV design speed higher than 25km/h and on streets with a speed limit of 50km/h or higher.
The Road Safety Institute ‘Panos Mylonas’ (RSI) and the Hellenic Institute of Transportation Engineers (HITE) with the support of Hellastron and the Alliance for Safety and Culture on the Road “Roads to the Future”, organised with great success the 14th Pan-Hellenic Road Safety Week during 15-22 March 2021. The aim of this action was to inform, raise awareness and educate all road users (students, parents, teachers, citizens and policy makers) in order to prevent and reduce road accident, which are a scourge on our society.
The 42th IATSS Best Paper Award has been awarded to NTUA paper titled “A meta-analysis of the impacts of operating in-vehicle information systems on road safety“, co-authored by Apostolos Ziakopoulos, Athanasios Theofilatos, Eleonora Papadimitriou and George Yannis. The paper aimed to estimate through meta-analysis techniques the overall impact of distraction due to operating in-vehicle information systems (IVIS) and similar devices while driving on road crashes. It was determined that 1.66% of total crashes are caused by operating in-vehicle systems, while the respective proportion is 0.60% when examining professional drivers exclusively.
The World Bank Global Road Safety Facility (GRSF) has published a Report titled: Guide for Road Safety Interventions: Evidence of What Works and What Does Not Work. The Guide will help road safety practitioners understand that what sometimes appear to be “common-sense” approaches often not deliver the best road safety outcomes. Although some interventions provide benefits, others have very limited or even negative impacts, despite being commonly—and mistakenly—recommended and adopted.
The TOPOS Observatory and Forum is now online aiming to limit existing barriers in Open Science in Transport Research and align transport research with European Open Science Cloud (EOSC) by following the FAIR principles (Findability, Accessibility, Interoperability, and Reusability). It is one of the main results of the BeOpen project funded by the European Commission Horizon 2020 Programme. TOPOS Observatory is a tool for advance search on open transportation data and publications, including road safety, supporting also the exchange ideas and sharing best practices for operationalising Open Science principles in transport research.
The International Road Federation (IRF) published recently the Connected and Autonomous Mobility Manifesto, with the active contribution of NTUA. The main objective of this Manifesto is to provide the basis for discussion to proactively prepare ourselves for the revolution that Connected and Autonomous Vehicles (CAV) bring to the mobility and transport sector. The Manifesto summarises the initial discussions about the key challenges of the main workstreams guiding the IRF Connected and Autonomous Mobility Committee (CAMC) work, including the regulatory framework, technological innovations, future developments and social needs.
Global Road Safety Facility (GRSF) of the World Bank is the host of the new Speed Management Hub, under the new BIGRS Program 2020-2025. In this Platform, the GRSF team provides evidence-based road safety knowledge to help manage speed through infrastructure interventions, effective enforcement, targeted awareness measures, and vehicle technology. Key engagements from this focus area include the provision of technical expertise to program partners, countries and cities, on speed management and the preparation and publication of Global Speed Management Guidelines.
Road fatalities in Greece in 2020 presented a significant decrease (16%) compared to 2019 figures, according to recently published ELSTAT data. This significant decrease is mainly attributed to the traffic restrictions due to the pandemic.
During the last decade, Greece presented the most impressive road safety improvement in the European Union, with a decrease of 54% in road fatalities since 2010, achieving its target of halving road fatalities in 2020 compared to 2010. Serious injuries were reduced by 72% and the rate fatalities per vehicles was decreased by 56% since 2010.
The 2020 infographic of NTUA Road Safety Observatory (www.nrso.ntua.gr) highlights one more very intensive and highly fruitful year, despite the pandemic. The nrso scientific team with high dedication, efficiency and expertise continue to grow and excel, being active in 30 innovative research projects, succeeded to publish 65 scientific papers (23 in peer reviewed journals), and travelled around the world in hundreds of webmeetings to develop and promote road safety science.
This year, besides intensive research in six Horizon 2020 and other projects, we were also lucky to contribute to the long waited Athens Great Walk large urban regeneration project and to the National Road Safety Action plan. During and after the pandemic, we are better than ever committed to our scientific quest for safer roads everywhere and for all.
The School of Civil Engineering of NTUA recently published a Video with a Presentation of the School focusing on its History, Structure, Departments and Laboratories. The activities and Laboratory infrastructure of the Department of Transportation Planning and Engineering, including those on road safety are highlighted .
The 2nd Newsletter of the Horizon 2020 project Drive2theFuture was recently released highlighting the 2nd Drive2theFuture Workshop, held on March 2021, with the so far achievements of the project. The Newsletter also includes a survey identifying the current views and acceptance of automation in all modes which has been concluded with the participation of more than 11.500 people from all over Europe. NTUA actively contributed in the Workshop with the following presentation: From AV Skills Identification to AV training: The Drive2theFuture approach
The Greek National Road Safety Action Plan was presented on 3 February 2021 by Infrastructure and Transport Minister Kostas Karamanlis, and Deputy Minister Yannis Kefalogiannis, with the presence of Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis and all competent Ministers and the active contribution of NTUA. The Action Plan sets the target of reducing fatalities by 50% by 2030 and is composed by five main axes: High-quality Data, National Strategic Plan & Governance, Education & Communication, Effective Enforcement System and Safe Road Network.
The Prince Michael International Road Safety Awards 2020 were recently presented by Prince Michael to Road Safety Organisations who have demonstrated outstanding achievement and innovation in improving road safety in Britain and world-wide. At this 30 years celebration, several of NTUA cooperating Organisations (The World Bank, iRAP, Global Alliance of NGOs for Road Safety, Agilysis) were among the awarded Organisations.
The International Transport Forum (ITF/OECD) published recently a new Report titled “Best Practice for Urban Road Safety”, in which seven case studies of cities that are implementing data-driven road safety policies are presented. It highlights relevant experiences aimed at reducing the number of traffic casualties and protecting vulnerable road users in Barcelona, Bogota, Buenos Aires, Fortaleza, London, New York and Rotterdam and illustrates the diverse approaches to better understand road crashes and to prevent road traffic deaths and serious injuries.
The United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP), the Asian Development Bank (ADB), the World Bank Group, the International Transport Forum (ITF), the Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA) recently established the Asia Pacific Road Safety Observatory (APRSO), as the Regional Forum on road safety data, policies and practices to ensure the protection of human life on the roads across Asia and the Pacific. Member countries of APRSO are Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Cambodia, Lao PDR, Kazakhstan and Mongolia.
The UN General Assembly has adopted a new resolution on “Improving global road safety” which was co-sponsored by 55 governments. Among key decisions, the resolution proclaims the period 2021–2030 as the Second Decade of Action for Road Safety, with a goal of reducing road fatalities and injuries by at least 50% from 2021 to 2030, and in this regard calls upon Member States to continue action through 2030 on all the road safety-related targets of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG). The resolution calls for action to reduce road traffic deaths and injuries as a pressing development priority. It also endorses the Stockholm Declaration, approved at the third Global Ministerial Conference on Road Safety, held in Stockholm on 19 and 20 February 2020.
The Department of Transportation Planning and Engineering of the Civil Engineering School of the National Technical University of Athens was ranked 25th in Europe among all Transportation Science & Technology Schools and the Civil Engineering School of the National Technical University of Athens was ranked 7th worldwide (3rd European) among all Civil Engineering Schools according to ShanghaiRanking’s Global Ranking of Academic Subjects 2020. The methodology of ShanghaiRanking’s Global Ranking includes specific thresholds, indicators, and weights.
WB/GRSF – How do you minimize road safety risks when implementing a large development project? August 2020
The Road Safety Screening and Appraisal Tool (RSSAT) is developed by the World Bank Global Road Safety Facility (GRSF) early ex-ante assessment of road safety conditions and associated economic impacts, which will apply to all new road infrastructure projects in the World Bank portfolio. After successful trials in 2019-2020, use of the RSSAT is now required for all World Bank transport projects, and it is also recommended to be used for other operations that can have road safety impacts, such as urban and agriculture projects. Using the tool, project teams can evaluate road safety performance based on existing conditions and screen for safety improvement opportunities in road and roadside infrastructure. It is possible to estimate fatality rates under scenarios with and without the project, as well as the associated economic costs. In the following months, RSSAT will be also available to governments, development agencies, researchers, and other road safety professionals through an interactive GRSF web platform .
Implemented by the European Bank for Reconstruction & Development (EBRD) and supported by the World Bank GRSF, an international experts team has developed the Occupational Road Risk Toolkit – a structured e-learning program in which fleet managers, drivers, and motorcycle riders can receive tailored content. This platform contains resources and free e-learning modules for different stakeholders to help manage risk across numerous road safety challenges. With this innovative tool, EBRD wants to improve the quality of management and vehicle fleet as well as the way in which road networks are used.
EuroRAP launches a new website including important changes to navigation and content compared to the previous one. The new website is interactive and gives better access to About Us, Our Protocols, Our Activities, Our Impact, Get Involved and News. Amongst the new features, the site contains integrated social media buttons for Facebook, Twitter, and Linkedin. EuroRAP are committed to constantly updating content with helpful information, articles, blogs, newsletters, announcements and RAP Journey Road Authorities successes in the News section.
An NTUA Diploma Thesis titled “Acceptance of environmental transport charging policies” was recently presented by Asimina Korentzelou. This Diploma Thesis places emphasis on environmental charging (annual card) for private cars access in Athens center. On that purpose, data were collected through a questionnaire survey, using stated preference methodology. The results demonstrate that annual card cost and travel time savings are the main factors for the acceptance of the annual card. Furthermore, men, young people and high-income travelers are more likely to accept the annual card and environmental traffic policies. Finally, it was observed that the environmental awareness of drivers affects the acceptance of environmental traffic policies.
INTERAMERICAN and Anytime with the support of the NTUA Road Safety Observatory organised with great success at CNN Greece an online Workshop titled “We lead Transport to modern solutions” on 22 July 2020. The workshop highlighted modern solutions and applications of technology in Automotive, aiming at a cleaner atmosphere and environment in cities, saving energy and enhancing road safety for all citizens.
NTUA actively contributed with the following presentation: New Technologies and Driving Safety
The third Newsletter of the Horizon 2020 project BeOpen (European forum and observatory for open science in transport) was recently released highlighting the latest deliverables submitted and project activities in the next sections. It also informs about the BE OPEN contribution to UNESCO global discussion on Open Science and the project featuring in the FIRM magazine Issue 15. Finally, the 3rd Newsletter presents the seven distinguished international experts who have agreed to be part of the BE OPEN Advisory Board.
The 2nd Newsletter of the Horizon 2020 project i-DREAMS (Safety Tolerance zone calculation and interventions for driver-vehicle-environment interactions under challenging conditions) was recently released highlighting six new Technical Reports submitted in the past six months and the User Advisory Board. It also presents the CardioID’s instrumented i-DREAMS car, equipped with a suite of monitoring technologies to be used in the project, and introduces the DSS simulator builders.
Apostolos Ziakopoulos defended his PhD Thesis on Spatial Analysis of Road Safety and Traffic Behaviour using High Resolution Multi-parametric Data, July 2020
Apostolos Ziakopoulos has successfully defended his PhD dissertation titled: Spatial Analysis of Road Safety and Traffic Behaviour using High Resolution Multi-parametric 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, using data from OSeven Telematics.
The main objective of this PhD Dissertation is the spatial analysis of harsh event frequencies in road segments using multi-parametric data, including (i) high resolution naturalistic driving and driver behavior data from smartphone sensors, (ii) microscopic road segment geometry and road network characteristic data from digital maps and (iii) high resolution traffic data. Spatial analyses were performed on two parallel pillars: (i) Prediction models were developed in an urban road network training area, with the intent to transfer them to a second urban road network testing area and assess their predictive performance and (ii) Causal models including road user behavior and traffic input data were calibrated in an urban arterial study area per traffic state, in order to investigate additional underlying correlations in an effort to further understand the phenomena of harsh braking and harsh acceleration frequencies. Geographically Weighted Poisson Regression (GWPR) models, Bayesian Conditional Autoregressive Prior (CAR) models and Extreme Gradient Boosting algorithms with random cross-validation (RCV XGBoost) and spatial cross-validation (SPCV XGBoost) were implemented.
An NTUA Diploma Thesis titled “Preferences towards e-scooters in Athens” was recently presented by Vasilis Maragkoudakis. This Diploma Thesis identifies the most important factors affecting traveler modal choices in Athens. Logistic regression models were developed (multinomial and binary), which demonstrated that the probability of choosing an e-scooter depends largely on the cost, time, comfort, attitudes, habits and the demographic characteristics of the respondents. The faster and the more economical is the trip and the more familiar is the traveler with e-scooters is, the more likely he/she is to choose them over other means of transport.
An NTUA Diploma Thesis titled “Event identification based on driving characteristics on rural roads” was recently presented by Akrivi Varela. Focus was put on determining the main factors that can describe the situation before and during an event. Results showed that random forest model performs much better than the binomial logistic regression model in identifying event occurrence with very few false alarms. Moreover, speed and longitudinal acceleration along with total distance driven from the beginning of the driving session, turned out to better describe the case of driving one minute prior to an event. Finally, driving during an event can be sufficiently described through speed, the deviation of the vehicle from the middle of the road as well as time headway with the vehicle ahead.
The European Transport Safety Council (ETSC) has published a PIN Briefing “The Impact of Covid-19 Lockdowns on Road Deaths in April 2020“, with the active contribution of NTUA. This Report assesses Covid-19 measures impact on road deaths in Europe during the month of April 2020 – by which time most countries were in lockdown. Out of 25 EU countries for which data is available, 19 saw a decrease in the number of road deaths in April 2020 compared to the month of April in the previous three years (910 people in 2020 compared to 1.415 people on 2019). A conclusion is that there were very substantial reductions in the number of road deaths as a result of the big drops in traffic volumes due to confinement.
The EU’s High Level Group for Road Safety held a discussion on road safety in the COVID era on 16 June and agreed on some conclusions setting out common principles for the forthcoming transitional period. It is highlighted the importance of obtaining and sharing timely data and the enhancement of safe active mobility. Ιt has also emphasized the need to reinstate road safety enforcement, particularly if higher volumes of cars return to the roads and to restore public confidence in public transport.
According to the European Commission, compared to previous years, fewer people lost their lives on EU roads in 2019. An estimated 22.800 people died in a road crash last year (2% less than in 2018), almost 7.000 fewer fatalities than in 2010 – a decrease of 23%. Eight Member States registered their lowest fatality numbers on record in 2019: Croatia, Finland France, Germany, Greece, Latvia, Luxembourg and Sweden. However, progress has slowed in several other countries.
In the framework of the SLAIN project (Saving Lives Assessing and Improving TEN-T Road Network Safety) which is implemented in Greece by the Road Safety Institute (RSI) ‘Panos Mylonas’ in cooperation with the International Organization EuroRAP, a risk map of the Greek road network was created. The risk is presented by different colors (black-red-orange-yellow-green, from the highest to the lowest level of risk).
In the framework of the Executive MSc in Cities Laboratory (EMC Lab) of London School of Economics (LSE), a programme for urban professionals in the public, private and third sectors who want to understand and deliver change in cities, NTUA contributed actively with a presentation titled “Strategic Transport Planning in Athens“. It was highlighted the current mobility situation in Athens, the effect of COVID-19 in traffic and road safety and new mobility interventions.
According to the EU road fatalities infographic of the NTUA Road Safety Observatory based on ETSC 2020 PIN Annual Report data, Sweden ranked first in 2019 with 22 fatalities/mil. inhabitants and 17th in terms of last decade reduction (-21%), whereas Romania ranked last, with 96 fatalities/mil. inhabitants and 22nd in terms of last decade reduction (-18%). 14 countries have a better performance than the EU average in terms of last decade road fatalities reduction, with Luxembourg and Greece sitting on top of the list with a reduction of more than 42% over the last decade.
The May 2020 newsletter of the EU funded Horizon 2020 project Levitate (Societal Level Impacts of Connected and Automated Vehicles) was recently released highlighting the relation of automated vehicles and COVID-19. It presents an interview with Helmut Augustin, City of Vienna, and the first LEVITATE webinar on the impacts of automation in freight transport.
A paper titled “A critical overview of driver recording tools” authored by Apostolis Ziakopoulos, Dimitris Tselentis, Armira Kontaxi and George Yannis, is now published in Journal of Safety Research. The objective of this review paper is to present and comparatively assess the various driver recording tools that researchers have at their disposal. A critical synthesis of the results was conducted, providing the advantages and disadvantages of utilizing each tool and including additional knowledge regarding ease of experimental implementation, data handling issues, impacts on subsequent analyses, as well as the respective cost parameters. New technologies provide undeniably powerful tools that allow for seamless data handling, storage, and analysis, such as smartphones and in-vehicle data recorders. However, this sometimes comes at considerable costs (which may or may not pay off at a later stage), while legacy driver recording methods still have their own niches to fill in research.
The new emblematic sustainable urban mobility arrangements within the Athens Great Walk project were presented by NTUA Professor George Yannis at the Athens City Council on May 11, 2020, which unanimously accepted the breakthrough and brave choices of Mayor Kostas Bakoyannis for extended regain of urban public space, public transport in priority, and safe and efficient mobility of pedestrians and cyclists.
The 2nd Newsletter of the Horizon 2020 project BeOpen (European forum and observatory for open science in transport) was recently released highlighting the results of the second project meeting (Piraeus, February 2020), the EOSC Symposium results and the EC President’s speech mentioning the importance of the European Open Science Cloud. Sign up here:
The 1st newsletter of the Horizon 2020 project Drive2theFuture (Needs, wants and behaviour of drivers and automated vehicle users today and into the future) was recently released highlighting the 1st Drive2theFuture Workshop (Brussels, March 2020), together with the Autonomous Vehicles consumer survey and the results from the three Plenary Meetings which took place so far. The 1st Newsletter highlights also the 12 pilots of the project and makes a reference to the three Horizon 2020 projects which focus also on driver behaviour and acceptance of connected, cooperative and automated transport. Sign up here.
ONISR/Cerema – Great safety impact from the new 80 km/h speed limit on rural single carriageways in France, 2020
Global Road Safety Partnership (GRSP) in collaboration with the VIAS Institute recently published the Manual on “Towards the 12 voluntary global targets for road safety”, providing guidance for countries on activities and measures to achieve the voluntary global road safety performance targets. It spells out what type of activities need to be undertaken, what data sources can be used and how performance can be measured and presented. It defines each target and points out what actions need to be taken and how each target can be measured.
The results of the EU-funded Horizon 2020 SaferAfrica project are highlighted at the Community Research and Development Information Service (CORDIS) of the European Commission. SaferAfrica, aiming to share expertise between Europe and Africa, focused on four pillars: Road Safety Knowledge and Data, a Road Safety Traffic Management Capacity Review, Capacity Building and Training and Sharing Good Practices. The most innovative results of the project are the African Road Safety Observatory and the African-European Dialogue Platform on Road Safety, developed with the active contribution of NTUA.
An NTUA Diploma Thesis titled “Spatio-temporal analysis of traffic safety using data from smartphone sensors” was recently presented by Elina Frantzola. Data from the OSeven smartphone application on driver behaviour were combined with traffic data from the Athens Traffic Management Centre and the respective geometric characteristics from Google Maps in order to produce the respective GIS maps and allow for statistical analysis. The statistical models developed demonstrated that traffic characteristics (traffic speed and occupancy) have the most statistically significant impact on the frequency of harsh events compared to road geometric characteristics and driver behaviour data. Finally, a strong correlation between harsh events and time variation was found, indicating an overall increase in harsh events during nighttime.
An NTUA Diploma Thesis titled “Driving behaviour during texting and surfing in rural roads using a driving simulator” was recently presented by Marios Sekadakis. The aim of this Diploma Thesis is to investigate the impact of texting and web surfing through smartphone on the driving behaviour and safety of young drivers on rural roads. It was found that driver distraction leads to statistically significant increase of accident probability, headway distance and lateral distance variation. On the other hand, it was observed that speed variation and headway distance variation were reduced.
A Diploma Thesis titled “Investigation of Flying Autonomous Vehicles traveller acceptance in Greece” was recently presented by George Priftis. The objective of the present Diploma Thesis is to investigate traveller acceptance of Flying Autonomous Vehicles in Greece, as well as the identification of the most significant factors affecting that decision. Results show that the of acceptance mostly depends on the cost, time, comfort, choices, habits and demographics of Greek travellers. Faster and cheaper trips together with higher technology culture lead to higher acceptance of flying autonomous vehicles.
Comparative Analysis of Traffic Accident factors per Driver Nationality in the European Union, March 2020
A Diploma Thesis titled “Comparative Analysis of Traffic Accident factors per Driver Nationality in the European Union” was recently presented by Aikaterini Skliami. The application of the models on data from the EU CARE database, revealed that driver nationality had a statistically significant effect on the number of drivers killed in traffic accidents. The main factors differentiating traffic accidents of local and foreign drivers are driver gender and accident area type.
A Diploma Thesis titled “Driver choices towards ridesharing” was recently presented by Athanasia Boulougari. This Diploma Thesis focuses on investigating whether passengers intend to share vehicles and identifying the main factors determining the choice of ridesharing service as a travel mode. Results indicate that especially young and female travelers were found willing more to use ridesharing services. Furthermore, it was found that when traveling for work, increased transit time and number of work related weekly trips lead to increased probability of ridesharing use.
The fifth 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 744 definitions and represents a point of reference for all those involved in transport statistics. The road accidents section can be proved highly useful for international road safety statistics.
The Civil Engineering School of the National Technical University of Athens was ranked this year 11th in Europe and 39th worldwide among all Civil Engineering Schools. This ranking is produced by the QS Organisation (QS World University Rankings by Subject 2020) based on the following criteria: Research, Teaching, Employability, Facilities, Internationalization, Innovation, Engagement and Access. NTUA road safety activities have contributed to this ranking.
NTUA supports and endorses the Stockholm Declaration, as the outcome document of the 3rd Global High-Level Conference on Road Safety 2020, focusing on global road safety efforts up to 2030 presented by the Swedish Minister for Infrastructure. The Declaration went through an extensive consultation with WHO Member States through their permanent representations in Geneva, and a transparent and inclusive public consultation open to everybody around the world and is expected to guide all road safety efforts around the globe for the decade up to 2030.
Stephen Perkins, the Head of Research and Policy Analysis at the International Transport Forum (ITF), highlights that safe urban mobility needs a 30km/h speed limit. He cites examples of effective policies in India, France and Colombia supporting that aligning safe speeds to the design of infrastructure and the mix of road users lies at the heart of Safe System policies. Finally, he endorses the fact that all countries can significantly cut the number of deaths and injuries on the roads, regardless of GDP per capita.