The European Parliament has voted overwhelmingly for road safety measures to reach zero deaths on EU roads by 2050. The resolution on EU road safety, adopted by 615 votes, notes that around 22 700 people die on EU roads every year, with around 120 000 seriously injured. Based on the Recommendations on next steps towards “Vision Zero” Report, the measures include: Safe speed limits – 30km/h in residential areas, Zero-tolerance for drink-driving and European road transport agency to support safe and smart transport.
The Committee on Transport and Tourism of the European Parliament published a Report titled Recommendations on next steps towards “Vision Zero”. The Report on the EU Road Safety Policy Framework 2021-2030, makes an analysis of all aspects of the new policy and provides an assessment on how EU intents to implement the proposed actions, while setting political priorities and suggesting further initiatives at EU and national levels.
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.
The World Bank Global Road Safety Facility (GRSF) published recently the “Guide for Road Safety Opportunities and Challenges: Low- and Middle-income Country Profiles“. The Report aims to support decision-making with key data, social and economic assessments for all 125 Low- and Middle-Income Countries. The Road Safety Country Profiles present information on management, roads, speed, vehicles, road users, and post-crash care, along with information on the current status for each country, region and with extensive information on key risk factors, issues and opportunities.
The Africa-Europe Alliance for Sustainable Investment and Jobs was launched by the European Commission in September 2018, as an effort to drive forward intercontinental cooperation on an equal footing. This related Transport Task Force has delivered recently with the active contribution of NTUA, a Report offering recommendations and conclusions on three important areas of transport cooperation: aviation, road safety and connectivity. On Road Safety the Report brings forward thirteen recommendations to reduce road accident injuries, addressing the five main priority areas: road safety management and data collection, infrastructure safety, vehicle safety, safety of road users and post-crash care.
iRAP and FIA Foundation with the support of FedEx Express, have launched a new tool for Star Rating for Schools (SR4S). The SR4S is the first evidence-based tool for measuring, managing and communicating the risk children are exposed to on a journey to school. It supports quick interventions that save lives and prevent serious injuries from day one.
Athenian Brewery organized a Round-table Meeting titled “Responsible Alcohol Consumption and Road Safety”, which was held with great success in Athens, Greece, on 12 February 2020. Participants exchanged ideas and proposals creating opportunities for actions aimed at educating especially young road users and informing about responsible alcohol consumption, driving behaviour and road accident prevention. NTUA actively contributed with the following presentation: Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol and Road Safety
NTUA Professor George Yannis made an invited lecture at the Permanent Road Safety Committee of the Hellenic Parliament on “European Road Safety Policy and Good Practices Worldwide” on February 6th, 2020. He stressed the importance for measures on priority risk factors (speed, alcohol, distraction, seat belt, helmet) and serious road safety capacity-building with appropriate evidence-based policy making.
Participate now at the survey of the Horizon 2020 project Drive2theFuture. The survey aims to explore opinions about the acceptance of Autonomous Vehicles for different transport modes while it is structured of four main areas corresponding to each transport domain (aviation, maritime, rail, road) and every section includes a simple description of what automation means for each mode. The survey is available in several languages:
The European Transport Safety Council (ETSC) has published the 38th PIN Flash Report “How safe is walking and cycling in Europe?“, with the active contribution of NTUA. This Report examines the most recent available data on the current safety levels of cycling and walking across the EU and other countries that provide data to ETSC as part of its Road Safety Performance Index (PIN) programme, and it concludes with recommendations for action at EU. It is highlighted that for a serious shift to walking and cycling, particularly for local journeys in densely populated areas, the very design of urban spaces will need to change. Motorised traffic will need to slow down when it comes into spaces used by vulnerable road users; separated infrastructure and smart intersection design will be essential; school streets without cars may need to become the norm.
The World Road Association – PIARC recently published the Catalogue of Case Studies, containing a properly documented set of interventions designed, implemented and operated worldwide to improve road safety in three specific fields: Vulnerable Road Users (VRUs), Human Factors (HF) and interventions in Low- and Middle-Income Countries (LMICs). This Catalogue is aimed to be enriched in the future with new case studies, showing other applications, different solutions to solve the same problems and better representing the safety interventions applied or applicable in LMICs.
The World Road Association – PIARC recently published the “Review of Global Road Safety Audit Guidelines – With Specific Consideration for Low- and Middle-Income Countries”. This Report involves a comprehensive review of current Road Safety Audit Manuals and Guidelines from a range of different countries to establish current practices and considers previous international reviews to determine key areas where additional guidance is required, or exemplar practice is well established. The initial consideration is given to the core issues facing many countries regarding implementing a comprehensive audit system.
World Road Association- PIARC launches a new Strategic Plan by organizing kick-off meetings for all its 22 Technical Committees and Task Forces, on 22 January – 14 February 2020 in Paris, France. A thousand experts from about 140 countries will participate in the meetings in order to discuss how to organize their work for the next four-year cycle. PIARC organizes its efforts into four Strategic Themes: Road Administration; Mobility; Safety and Sustainability; and Resilient Infrastructure. The main purpose of the kick-off meetings is to discuss expected outputs, so as to initiate a prompt start to their work.
The 1st 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 the key activities of the first 8 months of the project with the active contribution of NTUA. It contains the project video, a closer look at the Safety Tolerance Zone concept and the i-DREAMS prototype, the team behind this exciting project, the expert advisory board members and some publications and press releases. Sign up here.
The European Cyclists’ Federation (ECF) and the Global Alliance of NGOs for Road Safety with the support of FedEx released a very interesting Guide containing good practices for supporting community and non-government organisations (NGOs) advocating for safer cycling in European cities. It is based on the experiences of the Netherlands and Denmark, two countries that have developed significant expertise in the field of cycling safety. Written in cooperation between the European Cyclists’ Federation, the Fietsersbond and the Cyklistforbundet, this guide seeks to collate and advocate for the adoption of best practice measures regarding road user behaviour, infrastructure design, safe vehicles and the management of road infrastructure.
NTUA graduate Dimitrios Giagkou obtained the Ecopolis 2019 Award for Urban Transport for the Diploma Thesis “Mobility and Road Safety in European Cities“, carried out within the NTUA Department of Transportation Planning and Engineering of the National Technical University of Athens. The Environmental Awareness Awards Ecopolis seek to contribute to the promotion and recognition of the increased and proven environmental sensitivity of State Bodies, Local Government, Enterprises, Scientific and Research Institutions as well as Public Media Services.
The European Commission, through the Horizon 2020-funded Action ARCADE (Aligning Research & Innovation for Connected and Automated Driving in Europe), has released the Knowledge Base on Connected and Automated Driving (CAD). This database gathers all the information previously spread across projects and a broad network of stakeholders to establish a common baseline of CAD, thus ensuring transferability of knowledge for future research, development and testing of connected and automated driving.
Closing a great decade, full of innovation, excellence and new knowledge, and several great scientific achievements, we start an even brighter new decade, striving with more dedication, passion and creativity for safe traffic everywhere and for all.
We thank you all for the excellent cooperation, which we aim to further intensify and we are sending you our very best wishes for joyful Christmas holidays and a lucky and joyful new decade, plenty of personal and professional achievements.
A paper titled “Safety culture among bus drivers in Norway and Greece” authored by Tor-Olav Nævestad, Ross O. Phillips, Alexandra Laiou, Torkel Bjørnskau, and George Yannis is now published in Transportation Research Part F: Traffic Psychology and Behaviour. The aims of this paper are to: (1) Examine the influence of national safety culture, sector safety focus and organizational safety culture on the safety behaviours of professional drivers, compared with other explanatory variables (e.g. age, type of transport, working conditions), and to (2) Examine the influence of safety behaviours and other factors (e.g. age, mileage, type of transport) on self-reported crash involvement. The study indicates a relationship between national road safety culture, road safety behaviour and crash involvement, that could be developed further to help explain differences in national road safety records.
The 2nd newsletter of the Horizon 2020 project Levitate (Societal Level Impacts of Connected and Automated Vehicles) was recently released presenting the key activities of the first 12 months of the project. It highlights the 2nd Workshop of the Levitate Stakeholder Group in Brussels on November 2019 and includes an interview with Anna Craciun, Transport for Greater Manchester, as well as video statements from key project partners. The 2nd Levitate newsletter suggests also several key Connected and Automated Transport news and upcoming events.
Global Alliance of NGOs for Road Safety launched a campaign titled #CommitToAct following the #SpeakUp campaign and in the run up to the Third Global Ministerial Conference on Road Safety 2020. The goal of this campaign is the commitment to road safety actions and the action on the commitment, supporting NGOs in pushing their local and national governments to make clear, meaningful, and specific commitments for road safety actions at policy, implementation, and enforcement levels, and then to track and highlight these commitments. These commitments can be big or small, but what matters is that they are acted on.
The European Transport Safety Council (ETSC) has published a Report titled “Progress in reducing drink-driving and other alcohol-related road deaths in Europe”. The aim of this report is to provide an updated overview of the drink-driving situation in Europe, covering 32 countries including all 28 EU Member States, while it highlights specific legislation and enforcement measures from across Europe. A range of recommendations concerning further improvements in tackling drink driving are made to Member States and the EU institutions throughout this report.
SaferAfrica Project has been awarded the prestigious Prince Michael International Road Safety Award 2019 as recognition for establishing a Dialogue Platform between Africa and Europe focusing on road safety management. SaferAfrica was an EU Horizons 2020 research project (2016-2019) relying on a rich and multilevel governance inspired by a common goal: make African roads safer. NTUA contributed actively by developing the African Road Safety Observatory as a core component of the Dialogue Platform.
SafetyCube project has been awarded the prestigious Prince Michael International Road Safety Award 2019 as recognition for its innovative open-access web-based Road Safety Decision Support System (DSS) that enables policy-makers and stakeholders to select and implement the most appropriate strategies, measures and cost-effective approaches to reduce casualties of all road user types and all severities in Europe and worldwide. SafetyCube (Safety CaUsation, Benefits and Efficiency) was an EU Horizon 2020 research project (2015-2018). NTUA contributed actively at all phases of the SafetyCube project and was in charge of the development of the SafetyCube DSS.
Within the framework of the Open Days event, Thessaloniki Road Traffic Police unit received the “Best Road Safety Initiative” Award 2019 by the Hellenic Institute of Transport (HIT) in cooperation with the Hellenic Association of Toll Road Network (Hellastron) and the Hellenic Institute of Transportation Engineers (HITE). This year, the award was given to the Road Traffic Police department of Thessaloniki, for the innovative applications developed in the field of Road Safety the previous year, and particularly for the program “Little Traffic Policemen … in action!” demonstrating a pioneering visual and practical interest in promoting Road Safety.
The revised General Safety Regulation was formally approved by the European Council and the European Parliament on 27 November. As of 2022 new safety technologies will become mandatory in European vehicles to protect passengers, pedestrians and cyclists. Key new technologies include intelligent speed assistance, lane-keeping assistance, advanced emergency braking, warning driver drowsiness and distraction, reversing safety with camera or sensors and data recorder in case of an accident (black box). Advanced safety features will reduce the number of accidents (90% of which are due to human error), pave the way towards increasingly connected and automated mobility, and boost the global innovation and competitiveness edge of the European car industry.
The Global Roadmap of Action toward Sustainable Mobility (GRA) constitutes an effort led by the Sustainable Mobility For All (SuM4All) coalition to identify the most relevant and impactful policy measures to achieve sustainable mobility, based on country’s performances. The GRA is a tool that will enable any country in the world to measure how far it is from achieving sustainable mobility, explore more than 180 policy measures that have been tested worldwide, and prioritize those that are most impactful and lay out a path forward.