European pilot project aims to improve safety of vulnerable road users

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A total of 20 partners around Europe, including city councils, public transport operators, logistics and construction companies, have launched a pilot project that aims to contribute to the safety of vulnerable road users.

Instigated by UK company, Safety Shield Systems, the three-month project offers an opportunity to approach the problem of pedestrian and cyclist safety using two methods simultaneously. The first part of the pilot involves fleets of buses and trucks being equipped with the company’s Cycle Safety Shield intelligent detection system, which helps prevent collisions with cyclists, pedestrians and motorcyclists in the vehicles’ blind zones, where drivers are not able to see them. The system is already being successfully used on a number of UK fleets, including the Amey Group’s vehicles and Sainsbury’s supermarket delivery trucks. The award-winning system has already been recognized as a life-saving technology, and has proved to be efficient at improving driver behavior, increasing energy efficiency and considerably reducing insurance premiums.

The second part of the project uses Safety Shield’s recently developed My Alert telematics software system, which extracts big data on the avoided collisions, such as location, time, type of road user, and video. The collected data is expected to be of particular interest to city traffic planners and public transport authorities, who will be able to analyze and recognize potentially dangerous locations, as well as carry out preliminary studies on what may cause these near-collision situations. The My Alert software also brings up an instant Google Street View image, so that if a simple pothole, for example, is causing a problem, it can be rectified before it causes further incidents.

The project partners hope to achieve safer streets for cyclists and pedestrians by facilitating informed decision making on infrastructure and traffic planning improvements, based on the extracted near-collision statistics. At the end of the project in December, an independent organization will publish its findings based on: the collected data in respect of the number of collisions avoided due to the Cycle Safety Shield technology; the improvement in driver behavior; the main causes of the observed near-collision situations; and possible infrastructure improvement solutions in the participating cities.

The partners involved in the pilot project are from Spain, France, the Netherlands and UK, including: Transport for London (TfL), RATP, City of Belfast, EMT Madrid, First Group, L’Hospitalet City Council, Baixbus, City of Helmond, Van den Broek Logistics, Translink, Brake Charity, Go-Ahead, Amey Group, Sainsbury’s supermarket, Ealing Council, Richmond Council, Transport NI, Murrill Construction and Hope Construction Materials.

Peter Buckwell, cabinet member for highways and streetscene at Richmond Council, UK, said, “Through this trial we will be able to see if we can help to reduce the risks to pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists. If the trial is successful and cost-effective, we can look to roll out the system, or similar systems, further.”

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Tom has edited Traffic Technology International magazine and the Traffic Technology Today website since he joined the company in May 2014. Prior to this he worked on some of the UK's leading consumer magazine titles including Men's Health and Glamour, beginning his career in journalism in 1997 after graduating with a law degree from the London School of Economics (LSE).

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