Road Safety News
Road Safety News concern a selection of the most recent developments on road safety in Greece, in Europe and worldwide.
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