Public Defence Doctoral Thesis Malik Sarmad Riaz
Jan 27, 2020 16.30 uur - 19.00 uur
Agoralaan Gebouw D
Doctoral thesis titled ‘Observation of road users’ behaviour and evaluation of road safety education programmes.’
Promoter: Prof. Dr Davy Janssens
Co-promoter: Dr Ariane Cuenen & Prof. Dr Kris Brijs
Road traffic accidents have become a global challenging epidemic with road traffic accidents resulting in 1.35 million people losing their lives per year. In the last three years at UHasselt, I aimed to assess the behaviour of vulnerable road users and evaluate and asses road safety education interventions and indirectly help to achieve the goal of decreasing the number of road fatalities for one of the most over-represented age groups (children and young adolescents). The literature in the field of road users’ behavior observation dates back to the 1920s, to synthesize the information, we carried out a scoping (systematic) review focusing on the use of behavioral observation studies that include an examination of road users’ safety. Among other interesting findings, we found that there is an absence of empirical data on child pedestrian behavior in Belgium. Consequently, we performed a study on the crossing behavior of child pedestrians outside their schools in Flanders (Belgium). The study showed that around half the children exhibited two or more unsafe behaviors. Based on the systematic review effort, literature search and the behavior observation study results, we developed a prototype digital platform with gamification elements to train children about the necessary knowledge and skills to traverse a road segment. The digital platform was able to improve the skills of the children, the children already had ample knowledge about traffic rules but the skills like situation awareness, risk detection and risk management which are of paramount importance for their safety are being ignored. The young children should have ample opportunities to interact with real environments and real objects. Using computer simulations like the digital platform we developed can supplement roadside training to not jeopardize the child’s safety in traffic.