About the project
The main objective of the InDeV project is to contribute to the improvement of Vulnerable Road Users’ (VRU) safety in Europe, by developing an integrated methodology (compiled in a toolbox) for understanding accident causes for VRUs and a framework for good practice for a comprehensive assessment of socio-economic costs related to road-accidents involving VRUs. The tool-box for in-depth analysis of accident causation for VRUs is based on a combined use of accident databases, in-depth accident investigations, surrogate safety indicators, self-reported accidents and naturalistic behavioural data. It will help to link accident causation factors to VRUs’ accident risk, and provide a solid basis for developing preventive countermeasures and a better input for socio-economic cost calculations of VRU accidents. InDeV reveals the causational factors by focusing on the process of accident development, thus overcoming the main weakness of the traditional accident data based approach that might find correlations between various factors and accident frequency, but not show the causation chains. It will employs, to a larger extent, observation of critical traffic events that are similar in process to real accidents, but are relatively more frequent and easier to collect in sufficient quantities. The project has a clear focus on VRUs and the course of events in accidents they get injured in. It provides solid knowledge, helps to avoid a skewed view on the problem of VRUs’ safety, and facilitates the proposed tailor-made countermeasures for these groups. Moreover, with the use of surrogate safety indicators, there will be no need to wait for accidents to happen in order to learn how to prevent them from happening.
The InDeV project includes the following steps:
- review of methods and identification of the critical sites and road user groups (work package 2)
- observation studies at the selected sites (work package 3)
- development of technical tools for automated behaviour data collection (work package 4)
- analysis of the socio-economical costs (work package 5)
- compilation of the project results and development of the safety analyst tool-box (work package 6).
The work packages are framed by work package 1, dealing with project management und work package 7, responsible for dissemination and exploitation.
WP1 – Project Management
The main objective of this work package is to provide an efficient, flexible and active project management of InDeV, with a clear distribution of responsibilities that is transparent to all partners.
The main objectives are to:
- Achieve the contracted results, including handling the project reporting and accounting,
- Ensure an effective daily management of the project both administrative and technical,
- Ensure a consistent high quality of work in the project and the reports produced,
- Efficiently deal with risk and other issues as they arise,
- Ensure proper communication within the consortium and with the European Commission,
- Ensure co-ordination of project-related activities both internally between the WPs and externally with the Advisory Board and other stake holders.
WP2 – Review of study methods and identification of critical sites and situations for VRU Safety
A large variety of studies and methodologies to understand accident causation for vulnerable road users exists within the international research community. Methods range from epidemiological studies based on accident and injury data, in-depth accident investigations, naturalistic driving studies, behavioural observations, traffic conflict studies to self-reported accidents. All different methods have their individual characteristics, strengths and weaknesses. The main objectives of workpackage 2 is to critically review the usefulness of the currently used methods for accident causation studies with relevance to vulnerable road users. The weaknesses in the currently used study methods will be identified and recommendations for improvements be made.
The quality and availability of data with relevance to vulnerable road user safety problems will be assessed and typical locations and situations where most vulnerable road user accidents occur will be identified. Based on the review results and the analysis of existing local accident data sites for observational studies will be selected.
WP3 – Observational Studies
The work done in this workpackage is based on the selection of sites and situations in workpackage 2.
The main objective is to collect and analyse sufficient amounts of field data on the sites with vulnerable road user accident accumulation in order to work out an optimal strategy for observational field studies for vulnerable road user safety in terms of e.g. duration, equipment, set-up. Safety surrogates and behavioural indicators will be calibrated and validated against accident statistics and in-depth accidents investigations based on new data. They will be checked in two aspects – their ability to estimate the expected number of accidents and to reveal the accident causation factors. The workpackage seeks to demonstrate the usefulness of the method and identify the most prone vulnerable road user safety problems. In the pilot phase data from a limited number of sites will be collected to provide test data for the technical development of tools in WP4 and to gain practical experience for planning data collection. The pilot phase will be followed by a full-scale data collection at several sites, where the consistency of the safety indicators will be examined and the reliability of the technical tools from WP4 will be tested. The workpackage will particularly include continuous long-period observations to test the hypothesis of continuous severity dimension of traffic events at the same site.
WP4 – Tools for automated data collection and analysis
This workpackage is motivated by the need for an automatic system that can ease the task of annotating massive amounts of traffic data. This is highly relevant for WP3, but also for the analysis of traffic data in general. Three systems are to be developed in this WP. The first system is a watchdog system that aims at removing huge chunks of video data where no events/interactions are occurring. This reduces the amount of video data that has to be manually annotated. The second system is a fully automated (next generation) tracking system that keeps track of all objects in the scene and automatically detects traffic events by analysing the trajectories. Lastly, a data collection system (an APP) will be developed which automatically detects, exempli gratia walking/cycling accidents that are not normally reported. The systems will be developed and tested in close collaboration with WP3.
WP5 – Socio-economic cost analysis
Workpackage 5 will evaluate the existing socio-economic methods for accident cost calculations, taking into account the special issues that arise when calculating the costs of accidents involving vulnerable road users. Several aspects such as differences in reporting rates or the specific structure of accidents with vulnerable road users will be addressed here. Issues that result from countries’ peculiarities such as different social structures, demographics or cultural norms will also be addressed. Methodological differences will also be taken care of. The workpackage will analyse the size of these problems in different countries and describe how the socio-economic valuation methods can be improved with respect to specific issues regarding accidents among VRUs. The different accident cost calculation regimes will be compiled, critically reviewed and compared regarding their methodology especially with regard to aspects concerning VRUs. Based on good practice in several countries guidelines for development of a comprehensive method for the assessment of socio-economic costs for VRUs will be compiled. Relevant aspects will be identified based on the results from the studies at selected sites. Existing cost calculation regimes will be analysed with respect to the inclusion of those aspects and a framework for good practice will be recommended for the adjustment of existing cost calculation methods.
WP6 – Vulnerable road user safety analysis toolbox
The aim of WP 6 is to compile the project results in a practically oriented toolbox for traffic safety professionals. This toolbox will consist of:
- Two hands-on manuals for the surrogate safety indicator tool and the naturalistic cycling/walking study tool that are developed in WP4.
- A handbook describing the integrated approach for improved diagnosis of VRUs’ road safety problems.
A hands-on manual for using the automated surrogate safety indicator tool, developed in WP4, will be produced focusing on the use of the tool by practitioners and analysts. It will provide a step-by-step guide through the different steps of data collection, cleaning and analysis. Also, a hands-on manual for a naturalistic cycling/walking study tool will be compiled.
Furthermore, a handbook describing the toolbox for improved diagnosis of VRUs’ road safety problems will be created. The handbook will be a guide to practitioners and analysts that will allow to identify specific road safety problems of VRUs, both at the local level and at higher levels. Techniques that will be included in the handbook are: methods for accident data collection and analysis at macro, meso and micro levels, self-reported accidents, traffic conflict and behavioural observations using automated video analysis tools, naturalistic cycling/walking studies, socio-economic cost calculation.
WP7 – Dissemination and Exploitation
The objective of this workpackage is to disseminate information and results from the project and to inform relevant key actors about the possible benefits of the InDeV toolbox for safety analysis of vulnerable road users, using adequate channels for different stakeholder groups. It will also enable and coordinate mutual knowledge exchange and interaction between project partners and stakeholders during the project's lifetime to improve its outcome.