IMOB films traffic on intersection in Kermt during six months Feb 23, 2017
In March 2017, IMOB (Hasselt University) will start to examine conflicts with vulnerable road users on an intersection in Kermt and therefore records video material of the intersection during six months. The goal: to gain insight in the accident causes. Prof. Dr Tom Brijs: “If we better understand causes of road accidents, we can take specific measures.” The observational study will also be carried out in Warschau and Barcelona.
According to the European Commission, 135.000 people were critically injured on European roads in 2015. Among them, there were many vulnerable road users such as pedestrians and cyclists. “Research shows that increasingly less accidents and casualties occur involving motorized road users, but this decrease doesn’t apply for vulnerable road users”, said Prof. Dr Tom Brijs in the newspaper Het Belang van Limburg. Of all deadly and seriously injured victims from 2000 to 2002, 6.7% were pedestrians. This share rose to 10.3% in ten years. The share of cyclists increased even from 13.6% in 2000-2002 to 23.1% in 2011-2013. These numbers were reported by Mobiel Vlaanderen. “With this research, we aim to examine the reason why these numbers won’t fall.”
Therefore, during six months, IMOB will record on video the intersection in Kermt where the Diestersteenweg, the Kermtstraat and the Koorstraat converge. The researchers examine both accidents and near-accidents. Tom Brijs: “Conflict situations don’t always result in an accident, but they contain a lot of information. Why did this dangerous situation occur and what was the immediate cause? If we understand causes of road accidents, we are able to develop specific countermeasures to prevent road accidents.”
The observational study in Kermt will start in March 2017, but IMOB will also analyse similar intersections in Warschau (Polen) and Barcelona (Spain). Prof. Dr Tom Brijs in the newspaper HBvL: “This way, we can also examine possible regional differences in driving behaviour.”
To monitor traffic efficiently IMOB will use the RUBA-tool (Road User Behaviour Analysis) that the Transportation Research Institute and its European partners developed last year. “Existing video-based systems to monitor traffic safety record non-stop and produce enormous amounts of data. The collected datasets all need to be screened manually. A major disadvantage, because this is very time consuming”, says Prof. Dr Tom Brijs. “The RUBA-system makes sure that monitoring starts as soon as traffic is detected. There is less recording material, so you don’t need nearly as much time to collect and evaluate all the data.”
Automatically detect specific traffic situations
“The tool also makes it possible to automatically detect specific traffic situations through what we call ‘detector fields’', says Tom. “For example, one detector field records the colour of the traffic light. A second one detects a crossing pedestrian. A third field registers an approaching car. The combination of these fields can automatically detect the dangerous situation where a pedestrian crosses a red light while a vehicle is approaching.” Insights in specific traffic situations can support government and policy makers in taking road safety measures.
This project is funded by the Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme of the European Union under grant agreement no. 635895.
Read also the Dutch article of HBvL online - Picture: © Karel Hemerijckx