We often misjudge a traffic situation. We take a turn too wide or too fast. We think we have sufficient time to turn right onto a main road, but then get surprised by the heavy traffic. Human errors cause almost 90% of all road crashes. Within the research programme 'human-centered road design', we aim to answer the following question: how can roads be designed in such a way that they can be used unequivocally and safely by all road users? In other words: which road design prevents serious or lethal injuries?
We strongly focus on self-explaining roads and forgiving roads from the perspective of a 'Safe System approach'. This approach places the road user, with all his possibilities and limitations, central in the design of a safe transport system. So, people can make mistakes, but a clear road design should be able to prevent this. If accidents still occur, the design needs to ensure that serious or lethal injuries are prevented.
We both test a design in advance (e.g. testing road safety and circulation of road traffic) and evaluate the effectiveness of existing designs (e.g. road safety effects of speed-reducing measures). How does the road user react to (changes in) road design? Are improvements necessary? We use the driving simulator to test a road design in advance and evaluate (changes in) existing road designs by carrying out a behavioural and conflict observation (in real life conditions). In this research programme, we extensively use modern techniques such as camera-based observation, eye-tracking, (3D)-visualization, simulation and behavioural modelling to better understand the complex interaction between man, machine and environment.
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