In spite of all improvements in European road safety, almost 100 people are killed and about 40,000 get injured on European roads each day. The progress made so far is to a large extent based on intensive, publicly funded road safety research activities. While many low-hanging fruits in road safety have already been picked, a multitude of more specific research issues remains. With ICT opening up an enormous potential for new integrated safety applications, the research area of road safety is becoming broader and broader with the risk of diluting efforts.
As a result of the political focus on the greening and electrification of road transport, the focus of European road transport research funding has moved away from safety topics increasing the need to identify those safety research topics which public money will be invested in most efficiently.
PROS is to establish a pan-European network to develop commonly agreed priorities in road safety research and overcome the current fragmentation in relevant stakeholder groups. This network will follow an integrated approach covering human, vehicle and infrastructure aspects and all phases from preventive to post-crash safety.
The PROS concept starts from the identification of future safety research needs based on a review of future societal scenarios as well as existing research activities, agendas and roadmaps. These research needs will be subject to a transparent prioritisation and road-mapping process with maximum involvement of key stakeholders. The outcomes will be widely disseminated together with identified success stories to all interested parties. Following an iterative optimisation, the whole process will be ready for the long-term continuation of activities in a pan-European multi-stakeholder network.
Due to maximum stakeholder involvement, PROS will achieve a substantial impact in increasing the return on investment in road safety research by providing commonly-agreed priorities to focus on.
Maximising road safety research to keep motorists safe
With Europe aiming for zero road deaths, road safety research can play a key role in this ambitious goal. An EU initiative delivered a roadmap that sets clear priorities for road safety research, and helped to improve networking among all relevant stakeholders.
In spite of recent improvements, road accidents still kill on average 80 Europeans each day, with thousands more being severely injured. Europe aims for a complete end to such casualties, but realising the goal will require intensified research and prioritisation.
The EU-funded http://www.pros-project.eu/ (PROS) (Priorities for road safety research in Europe) project set out to create a European network to set road safety research priorities. Overall, the aim was to deliver a concrete roadmap and improved networking among stakeholders.
Work started with a review of societal trends and scenarios that affect road safety research. Project partners gathered and analysed approximately 30 current national, EU and global research agendas and examined the state of the art in existing road safety research activities at EU and national levels.
Based on this, the team identified gaps in existing research and prioritised related research topics with the assistance of various stakeholders. As a result, about 120 experts from over 40 organisations helped deliver a roadmap for the future of European road safety. It contains 11 prioritised research topics to assist policymakers in defining Horizon 2020 calls.
A pan-European network was set up to develop long-term joint priorities in road safety research and overcome existing fragmentation among related stakeholder groups.
Finally, project members devised a plan for dissemination, specifying the target audience and required tools. More than 20 presentations were delivered on the work, either at conferences or other meetings.
PROS developed a list of priority research topics for road safety, paving the way for safer and more sustainable road transport.