Road Safety News
Road Safety News concern a selection of the most recent developments on road safety in Greece, in Europe and worldwide.
The infographic of the 2018 NTUA Road Safety Observatory (www.nrso.ntua.gr) activities, highlights one more very intensive year, striving with highly scientific expertise to improve road safety in Greece, in Europe and worldwide. The nrso people with excellent dedication, efficiency and expertise were active in 22 innovative research projects, succeeded to publish 67 scientific papers (21 in peer reviewed journals), reached almost 100.000 nrso website page-views, handled more than 115.000 emails and run more than 4.800 km!
Emmanouil Barmpounakis, Panagiotis Papantoniou, Dimosthenis Pavlou, Dimitris Tselentis and Panos Georgiou PostDoc Researchers of the Department of Transportation Planning and Engineering of NTUA were awarded with the NTUA Thomaidion Award for outstanding publications in scientific journals for the year 2016. The awards for publications in Scientific Journals concerned:
- Barmpounakis E., Vlahogianni E., Golias J., Vision-based multivariate statistical modeling for powered two-wheelers maneuverability during overtaking in urban arterials, Transportation Letters, 8:3, 167-176, 2016
- Yannis G., Laiou A., Papantoniou P., Gkartzonikas C., Simulation of texting impact on young drivers’ behavior and safety on motorways, Transportation Research Part F: Traffic Psychology and Behaviour, 41-A, 10-18, 2016
- Pavlou D., Papantoniou P., Papadimitriou E., Vardaki S., Yannis G., Golias I., Papageorgiou S.G., Which are the effects of driver distraction and brain pathologies on reaction time and accident risk?, Advances in Transportation Studies, Vol.1, 83-98,2016
- Papadimitriou E., Lassarre S., Yannis G., Tselentis D., Road, traffic and human factors of pedestrian crossing behaviour: Integrated choice and latent variables models, Transportation Research Record 2586, 2016
- Christina Plati, Panos Georgiou and Andreas Loizos, Influence of different roller compaction modes on asphalt mix performance, International Journal of Pavement Engineering, 17:1, 64–70, 2016
The European Transport Safety Council (ETSC) has published a report titled “7 SMART Ways of tackling Drink-Driving in Europe”. The report aims to present the wide-ranging approaches used to tackle drink driving in Europe, including legislation (BAC limits, rehabilitation programmes for drink driving offenders), enforcement, technology (alcohol interlocks) campaigns and education.
The Road Safety Institute ‘Panos Mylonas’ with the support of the European Transport Safety Council (ETSC) produced and implemented two video campaigns focusing on driver distraction due to mobile phone use: and one video campaign focusing on the importance of seat-belt especially at the back-seat, titled: “Seat-belt – The belt which “ties” us with life“: . The objective is to highlight these very crucial road safety risk factors and promote these campaigns through social media.
The European Transport Safety Council (ETSC) has published a Report titled “The Status of Traffic Safety and Mobility Education in Europe” with the active contribution of NTUA. Even though the overwhelming majority of European countries consider education as an essential part of the integrated approach to traffic safety, this first overview of traffic safety and mobility education in Europe demonstrates that in practice road safety education in schools at all levels is not sufficient. Only in the Czech Republic, Ireland and Germany is road safety education provided at all levels.
The Road Safety Awards in Greece were established in 2018 by the Hellenic Institute of Transportation Engineers (HITE), HELLASTRON and the Hellenic Institute of Transport (HIT). This year, two awards have been announced: the first one concerns the “Best Road Safety Young Researcher Publication” addressed to students, graduates, postgraduate, doctoral or postdoctoral researchers and the second one concerns the “Best Road Safety Action” addressed to Organisations and Institutes.Submissions deadline is set for March 31st, 2019.
NTUA Road Safety Research is ranked 2nd in Europe and 6th worldwide according to a recent study titled: “Visualization and analysis of mapping knowledge domain of road safety studies“, published at the leading safety Scientific Journal Accident Analysis and Prevention. Moreover, NTUA Prof. George Yannis appears to be among the most productive scientific authors worldwide in the field of road safety. This ranking is based on a systematic analysis of all road safety studies published on Science Citation Index Expanded (SCIE) and Social Sciences Citation Index (SSCI) between 2000 and 2018, containing several interesting performance indicators on road safety research worldwide (topics, trends, papers, journals, universities).
A paper titled “Road safety behavior of drivers with neurological diseases affecting cognitive functions: an interdisciplinary Structural Equation Model analysis approach” authored by Dimosthenis Pavlou and George Yannis is now published in Advances in Transportation Studies. This research suggests the evaluation of driving behavior by using multiple driving indexes in a combined integrated manner, through a large-scale driving simulator experiment, comprising medical/neurological and neuropsychological assessments of 225 active drivers, and a set of driving tasks for different traffic volumes, different driving environments, including in-vehicle distraction conditions. The statistical analysis methodology developed and implemented was based on Principal Component Analysis and Structural Equation Models (SEMs). SEM results indicated that the impact of neurological diseases affecting cognitive functions is significantly detrimental on the latent variables “driving performance” and on the observed variables “reaction time” and “accident probability”. The AD group had the worse driving behavior profile among the examined groups with neurological diseases affecting cognitive functions.
The European Transport Safety Council (ETSC) has published a briefing synthesis titled “EU Strategy for Automated Mobility”. ETSC warmly welcomes and fully agree with the Commission’s acknowledgement that when it comes to automated mobility, “only the highest safety and security standards will suffice”. This must remain the guiding principle in the years to come. Automated driving has the potential to significantly improve road safety. However, recent collisions involving vehicles with automated technology on board demonstrate that automated driving may also pose new risks to road safety, and that the technology is not yet mature.
At the end of another year full of scientific excellence and innovation and great achievements, like the new breakthrough Road Safety Decision Support Systems: SafetyCube, SafeFITS, AfricaRSO, we persist with creativity and passion for a brighter, more automated and safer traffic future everywhere and for all.
We thank you all for the excellent cooperation and we are sending you our very best wishes for joyful Christmas holidays and a lucky and fruitful new year 2019, plenty of personal and professional achievements.
Within the framework of the Horizons 2020 project SaferAfrica (African-European Dialogue Platform on Road Safety) a webinar titled “Road Safety Data in Africa” was successfully organised with the active contribution of NTUA, on December 20th, 2018. This webinar addressed key findings from a review on road safety data collection systems and definitions in African countries, together with the respective recommendations and guidelines for a minimum set of harmonised data collection procedures and standard definitions. In addition, the results of the analysis of key road safety data and risk factors in Africa were highlighted.
The Journal of Safety Research announced a call for papers: Special issue – Safety, human factors and technology. The objective of this Special Issue is to support the discussion on the future trends of mobility and the implications for the protection of all road users. An important aspect is that technological developments must go hand in hand with users’ acceptance and behavior. Therefore, we are particularly interested in contributions addressing the following topics: The role of human factors and technology on road safety; Interactions between vulnerable road users and automated systems; How can road users influence the technology advancement in transportation.Paper submission deadline: 18 February 2019
The African Road Safety Observatory is now on line constituting a space for interaction to highlight the road safety needs in African countries, developed with the active contribution of NTUA. It is one of the main results of the SaferAfrica project funded by the European Commission Horizons 2020 Programme and includes various knowledge and tools, such as statistics, reports, fact sheets, knowledge resources and links and it is integrated with crowd-sourcing functions to facilitate the participation of experts and end-users, through an interactive Dialogue Platform.A video presenting the African Road Safety Observatory is now “on air”:
On the occasion of the World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims, the European Commission presented the final Road Safety Figures for 2017, which show for the second year in a row a decrease by 2% of road fatalities in the EU compared to the previous year. European Coordinator for Road Safety Matthew Baldwin said: “Whilst European roads are the safest in the world, the downward curve has flattened out in past years. We still have many challenges ahead of us: I especially think of vulnerable road users, who– as the figures show- are making up a larger share of the casualties, especially in urban areas. We need an active, cooperative, holistic approach amongst all stakeholders to implement what we know needs to be done – the Safe System“.
The International Transport Forum (ITF/OECD) published recently a new Report: “Safer City Streets: Global Benchmarking for Urban Road Safety”, with the active contribution of NTUA. This document aims to support cities in setting road safety targets and to monitor progress in improving urban road safety. Pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists account for nearly 80% of urban traffic fatalities. Cities should thus intensify efforts to improve the safety of vulnerable road users. This document presents traffic safety indicators for different road user groups collected in 31 cities worldwide to facilitate the evaluation, monitoring and benchmarking of road safety outcomes. It places a particular attention on measuring the risk of fatality per unit distance traveled.
The European Transport Safety Council (ETSC) has launched a new campaign “Last Night the EU Saved My Life”. The EU has the exclusive authority to set minimum safety standards for all new vehicles sold on the EU market. EU crash safety tests, and mandatory inclusion of technologies such as seat belt reminders and Electronic Stability Control have saved thousands of lives. The revision of the “General Safety Regulation”, published on 17 May 2018, includes a set of new vehicle safety measures, including mandatory installation of new driver assistance technologies, as well as revised minimum crash testing standards and measures to protect pedestrians and cyclists. But the new legislation now needs the support of Members of the European Parliament and the Member States of the European Union in order to be passed into law, and that’s why ETSC has launched this new campaign with the active support of NTUA.
UNECE celebrates the 50th anniversary of Vienna Conventions on Road Traffic and on Road Signs and Signals, 1968-2018. At the turn of their 50th anniversary, the Vienna Conventions on Road Traffic and on Road Signs and Signals from 1968 are more relevant than ever. Whether helping to address the most critical road safety needs, or facilitating the development of automated driving functionalities, reference to these legal texts, which are evolving with technological developments, is a necessity for countries around the world. The two Conventions have a global scope and are important frameworks facilitating international road traffic through uniform traffic rules and harmonized road signs, signals, symbols and markings.
EU Transport Commissioner Violeta Bulc recently announced the appointment of Matthew Baldwin as European Coordinator for Road Safety to help drive forward the new road safety strategy as set out under the key actions in the Commission’s third Mobility Package to modernise Europe’s transport system in May 2018. The role will involve the coordination of road safety efforts with Member States, the European Parliament, cities, regions and all stakeholders in the road safety community. Matthew Baldwin gave an exclusive interview to the NTUA Road Safety Observatory:
NRSO: Matthew, tell me a bit about this new role of the European Coordinator for the promotion of road safety in Europe and what will be your specific areas of focus?
MB: First, thanks for this opportunity to set out what this role is all about and how I see it as fitting into our road safety “architecture”. It stems from the European Commission’s proposals last May for a new common framework for road safety and a strategic road safety action plan for Europe. We felt we needed someone to promote and coordinate this work at the European level, to give the proposals a push with Member States, with NGOs, with industry – and with vital academic bodies such as the NTUA! Luckily for me, Commissioner Bulc asked me to do it as part of my responsibilities as Deputy Director General here at DG MOVE, and to focus in particular on how we can deliver the results, how we can get back on the downward curve for deaths. Your readers will probably know, but we managed to reduce deaths by more than 50% in the first 15 years of this decade, but in the last few years, this has flattened out and we are currently going to miss the targets for 2010-20.
MB: So we need, as Commissioner Bulc puts it, a paradigm shift. Connected, cooperative, automated, autonomous mobility will ultimately deliver huge benefits – but for many years to come, probably for most of the next two decades, we will need to rely on implementing the Safe System as humans will continue to make mistakes, and we need to do everything we can to stop people dying or being seriously injured by those mistakes.
MB: There’s certainly a lot going on at national, regional, city level, reflecting the diversity of road safety performance across the EU, and we certainly don’t want to try to push a top down, one size fits all, model. What we are proposing is to widen the scope beyond the classic TEN-T roads to include the next level down, the national or primary roads, and where around 40% of the deaths occur. We also want Member States to take the needs of Vulnerable Road Users systematically into account in their infrastructure planning. The other big piece of legislation where our friends in DG GROW have taken the lead would add 16 new features to EU wide vehicle safety standards, such as intelligent speed assistance, automated braking, for all EU vehicle categories and models. I can’t stress enough how important these proposals could be – our detailed assessment suggests that they could together reduce deaths by more than 10 000 over the next decade, and serious injuries by more than 60 000 – and this is on top of the thousands and thousands of lives that existing legislation has saved. That’s just an illustration – I hope your readers will have a look at our proposals and give us feedback on how we can best implement a new European Road Safety Strategy.
MB: And as to my own role, well I’m still in my first month in the new job, so I am talking to everyone about everything, but I intend to approach it with all the energy I can muster. I am still looking for new ideas, so please follow me on Twitter on @BaldwinMatthew_ and tell me what YOU think needs to be done.
NRSO: Let me ask you about another aspect of the Commission proposals – these Road Safety Key Performance Indicators – how will these work to deliver the EU road safety strategy?
MB: Good question. The need for Road Safety KPIs goes back to the targets. Once again, we are aiming to get to Vision Zero – no road deaths – by 2050. Road safety is an epidemic – and if we can eliminate other epidemics like cholera and smallpox from the EU, no reason not to do the same for road safety. Obviously, with such an ambitious goal, you need to tackle it in chunks and set intermediate targets. It sounds obvious but targets are really really important if we want to get results. Some people argue that targets are dangerous – that if we miss them, we decredibilise the ultimate goals, make people give up. I disagree – we must keep road safety in the public mind, keep our politicians focused on it, as only that way will we get the investment, the people, to work on it.
MB: That is why it is so important that we have at EU level targets to go once again for a 50% reduction target in deaths, and this time also for serious injuries. But – and this is the key point – targets on their own won’t deliver results. We need to apply what we know works, from the massive research that has been done for so many years into the cause of road deaths and injuries, and agree together with the Member States where to put our energies.
MB: And that’s where the Road Safety KPIs come in – to take different elements of the Safe System like seat belt use where we KNOW that improved performance will deliver better results and to eventually identify a subsidiary target. So I hope we will agree on KPIs for protective equipment like seat belts, for use of the safest vehicles, for safe infrastructure, for emergency care, and so on. It’s difficult work as of course the road safety landscape is not the same across Europe. Just take speed, for example, where we have very different limits in different parts of Europe, and different cultures of respect for those limits, enforcement and so on. So we would like to start simply by identifying how much respect there is for existing limits and then later try something more sophisticated that would enable us to measure, and target improvements in, safe speed that takes account of infrastructure, weather conditions and so on. But the bottom line is that we get agreed baselines, common measurement methodology, and link the indicators to the overall outcome targets. Getting the data together is hard, but really important.
NRSO: How you envisage to convince transport / mobility authorities and stakeholders to put road safety higher on their agenda?
MB: Well that’s a leading question ! it would be wrong to suggest that Member States, regions, cities, aren’t already doing their best. But it is also true that resources are so limited now in the public sector, and road safety doesn’t seem to be one of the glamorous topics ! There’s also the strange phenomonen which of course applies globally, namely that we appear to ACCEPT so many deaths – 1.3 million globally, 25,000 a year here in Europe, which of course makes us a success story, relatively speaking. So we need to “stop accepting” this, and I think Commissioner Bulc has done a great job in pushing transport ministers and others not to accept this silent killer. We wouldn’t accept anything like that number of fatalities in other forms of transport or indeed our daily lives, and we shouldn’t accept it for road safety either. Much more prosaically, I want to promote this important Safe System concept of shared responsibility, which applies at all sorts of different levels. We all share responsibility for road deaths and injuries – the road user and other road users, public authorities, the police, car companies, health care systems – and we need a very active, cooperative, holistic approach. We are certainly not into the blame game here, and while of course Member States must take responsibility for what goes on in their countries, there is so much more we can do than naming and shaming – we can learn from each other and promote best practice, such as in putting together national road safety action plans. Put simply, if we can make road safety more of a political priority, more of a collectively shared endeavour, we can develop a virtuous circle to promote change – and get us back on the downward curve of deaths and serious injuries.
MB: The other crucial thing is funding because that is a vital lever to support road safety. We will encourage the use of EU financial support from European structural and investment funds for infrastructure upgrades, for example. I am glad that there are a good number of applications in response to the Connecting Europe Facility’s latest call which expires[d] [this month] [in October] because as Slovakia for instance has shown, some cleverly deployed but even limited funds can go a long way in improving infrastructure. But what we are working towards, what we would most like to see is a flexible, one stop shop for access to different forms of EU funding, whether it is for infrastructure, training, enforcement, so watch this space !
NRSO: What is the link to sustainable mobility in your job title ?
MB: Two things. First and foremost, it is because the statistics show that Vulnerable Road Users (motorcyclists, cyclists, pedestrians) are taking a much bigger share of the casualties. I am told, for instance, that 90% of casualties in Sweden are now VRUs, i.e., those without the protection of a vehicle. We should be celebrating new forms of mobility, particularly active modes such as walkers and bikers, and it is unacceptable (to use that word again) that death and injury should be the result. So I want to work closely with cities in particular in existing forums such as CIVITAS to promote sustainable and safe mobility ! The other point of course is that connected, autonomous, driving etc is going to pose a lot of new challenges, especially in the course of the next two decades as new vehicles come onto our roads. Infrastructure performance requirements will change, eg for road signs. And very different levels of automated vehicle will have to co-exist with each other AND with fully human-driven vehicles for many years to come. As these new systems, such as Cooperative ITS which we are doing a lot to promote here in the EU, are introduced on our motorways, in our urban areas, I want to work with Member States and cities on how best to do this, and how to ensure safety is always to the forefront of decision making.
NRSO: What are your immediate plans for the promotion of the EU road safety strategy?
MB: Again, there is a lot of work going on in the Commission and across the EU, and I should stress that I am not doing all of it or planning to ! I first want to talk to all member states, focusing first perhaps on those where the problem is greatest (we have a wide divergence in death rates) and really hear from them how we can best work together on this. We have a very good established committee which I chair, called the High Level Group, made up of directors from all the Member States responsible for road safety, and I want this group really to be the steering committee for the new strategy (for example, agreeing on the new KPIs). Time is very short if we are to get the new strategy in place for the start of the next decade – I hope we can have initial agreement to what KPIs we are going to deploy by summer 2019. It is also absolutely essential that we get the revised infrastructure directive and car safety regulations agreed before the current European Parliament comes to an end in May of next year. So we will be pushing these issues hard, and also working with UNECE to make sure that we can as far as possible translate and apply globally the safe standards agreed in Europe, particularly as we start to establish standards for automated driving.
MB: Once again, it is a big honor to be asked to work on these vital questions. I want to be a useful resource for Member States, and to work effectively in partnership with them – and all other players in the field. Thanks a lot for this opportunity !
A paper titled “Capturing the effects of texting on young drivers behaviour based on copula and Gaussian Mixture Models” authored by Loukas Dimitriou, Katerina Stylianou, and George Yannis is now published in Transportation Research Part F: Traffic Psychology and Behaviour. This research effort aims to investigate the impact of texting on young drivers’ behavior and safety based on data from driving simulator experiments, for different driving contexts, like motorways, urban and rural roads, during daytime and night, and for alternative weather conditions (‘clear sky’ and rain). GMMs application showed that drivers using mobile phones who were involved in a collision presented a different driving behavior compared to the drivers who were occupied but were not involved in a collision.
The European Traffic Police Network (TISPOL) together with the European Commission DG Move Road Safety Unit have launched the project EDWARD – the European Day Without A Road Death 2018. This year the European Day without a Road Death took place on Wednesday 19 September 2018. Several events, initiatives and promotional activity right across Europe will take place. Moreover, in the EDWARD website lots of new resources can be found, artwork can be downloaded (including images and Infographics), a countdown timer to the day itself, an interactive map and a brand new pledge to sign.In Greece the event for the European Day without a Road Death took place with great success in 18 September in Athens.
A Diploma Thesis titled “The effect of anger on driver behavior and safety” was presented by Orestis Gavalas in July 2018. In order to achieve this goal, a driving simulator experiment was conducted and a questionnaire including the DAX scale was filled in a sample of 125 drivers. The collected data were grouped into anger components using the factor analysis method. Subsequently, both linear and logarithmic regression models were developed. Valuable conclusions were reached including men demonstrating higher levels of driving anger as well as that anger decreases with increasing age. The presence of anger is related to the increase in average speed, the reduction of headway (measured in time) and the increase in the probability of being involved in an accident and a road traffic infringement. On the other hand, forgiveness and noble mindedness lead to fundamentally opposite effects.
SafetyCube is a research project funded by the European Commission under Horizon 2020, the EU Framework Programme for Research and Innovation, in the domain of Road Safety. The latest SafetyCube newsletter is now available, highlighting the innovative road safety Decision Support System (DSS) which is online already one year, enabling 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.
A Diploma Thesis titled “Critical driver behaviour and risk factors in Europe” was presented by Dimitrios Vachaviolos in July 2018. The aim of the present Diploma Thesis is the analysis of critical behavior and risk factors of drivers in Europe. To this end, we analyzed the responses of a representative sample of 17,980 European citizens who participated in the pan-European ESRA survey, which took place in 2016. The analysis of behavior and the investigation of the critical factors affecting driver behavior and safety, was carried out by using statistical methods of cluster analysis and binary logistic regression. The model results revealed that speeding leads to the increase of accident involvement probability, as is the case also for fatigue – drowsiness and distraction.
A Diploma Thesis titled “Mobility and road safety in European cities” was recently presented by Dimitrios Giagkou, focusing on the impact of mobility characteristics on road safety in European cities. For this analysis, various international databases were exploited with data on road accident fatalities, demographics and mobility characteristics of 25 European cities in 2012. Generalized Linear Models were developed for both the total number of fatalities and for specific subcategories too. The results led to the conclusion that more public transport capacity offered, more cycle trips and fewer motorcycles lead to a reduction in the number of fatalities in urban road accidents. Moreover, it was found that denser road network, higher population density and higher GDP per capita are correlated with fewer fatalities in urban road accidents.
A Diploma Thesis titled “Impact of economic, social and transport indicators on road safety during the crisis period in Europe” was presented by Dimitrios Nikolaou in July 2018. For this analysis a database containing Human Development Index (HDI), suicides, passenger-kilometers and road fatalities for European states for 2006-2015 was developed. The results led to the conclusion that Human Development Index has the most important impact and its increase leads to road fatalities decrease. Moreover, the economy evolution effect on road accidents is more important than social and transport indicators. Especially after the economic crisis, the impact of the economy is even higher. Passenger-kilometers were also found with increased impact on the number of road fatalities after the economic crisis.
The 3rd Newsletter of the African-European Dialogue Platform on Road Safety (SaferAfrica) Horizons 2020 project has been recently issued with the active contribution of NTUA. This edition highlights the newly born African Road Safety Observatory, the African RSO and includes also the SaferAfrica recommendations on the implementation of the African Road Safety Action Plan and an attempt to answer how can the African Road Safety Observatory help to improve road safety in Africa.
A Diploma Thesis titled “Relation of the performance of road safety to medical, economic and social indicators to countries in the European Union” was presented by Myrto Damianou in July 2018. The 27 European Union Member States are studied between 2008 and 2014. Linear regression and the linear mixed statistical model were developed.
A Diploma Thesis titled “Comparative investigation of road accidents cost in the European Union” was presented by Ypatia Mihou-Archimandritou in July 2018. For this analysis, social, economic and transport indicators from various international sources were exploited and a common database was developed, containing data about the rate of passenger cars use, GDP per capita, population, road accidents fatalities, suicides, number of passenger cars, Misery Index and other for the year 2015. The results led to a conclusion that an increase of the rate of passenger cars use leads to a decrease of the accident cost, while an increase of Misery Index leads to an increase of the accident cost. Furthermore, in economically strong countries higher accident cost is observed in comparison to the other two groups.
The Department of Transportation Planning and Engineering of the National Technical University of Athens (NTUA) was ranked 15th in Europe and at 65th place worldwide among all Transportation Science & Technology Schools, according to the ShanghaiRanking’s Global Ranking of Academic Subjects (GRAS) 2018. NTUA road safety activities have contributed to this excellent performance. Accordingly, the NTUA Civil Engineering School was ranked 7th worldwide (3rd European) among all Civil Engineering Schools.
A Diploma Thesis titled “Modelling the economic impact of road accidents in Greece” was presented by Eleftherios-Marios Kourtis in July 2018. The objective of this Diploma Thesis is the estimation of the human cost of road accidents based on the “Willingness-to-Pay” (WTP) methodology, and the identification of drivers attitudes towards the probability of getting involved in a road accident, using the “Stated Preference” method. The results demonstrate a positive correlation between the number of road accidents that a driver was involved so far and the annual amount that is willing to invest. Additionally, it was found that most of the drivers support the reduction of the probability to get involved in an accident. Lastly, based on the WTP methodology, the road accident fatality human cost was estimated at 1.761 million euros.