Transport by road is considered the most dangerous and costly of all modes of transport, in terms of human lives. Approximately 49 000 people die every year on the roads in the European Union. Moreover, the different growth speed of European cars and trucks compared to road infrastructure development (nearly always insufficient and inadequate), and the increasing need for passenger and freight mobility, result in a complex traffic congestion problem, more pronounced in high population areas. The reduction in efficiency produced by road transportation congestion represents 11 billion hours of delay for motorists in the EU.
Today, some urban and interurban areas have traffic management and advice systems that collect data from stationary sensors, analyse them, and post notices about road conditions ahead with recommended speed limits on display signs located at various points along specific routes. However, many other urban and interurban areas do not have such traffic management systems, and they are virtually non-existent on rural routes. With rural road crashes accounting for more than 60% of all road fatalities in OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) countries, the need for a system that can cover rural roads is compelling if a significant reduction in traffic deaths is to be achievable.
The REACT project contributes to EU goals of reducing traffic fatalities and increasing road transport efficiency, through the development of a European standardised information system. The REACT project's main innovative features are designed to integrate with existing road-operators' traffic management systems.
The main objective was to increase driver awareness and reaction by producing real-time recommendations to the driver and information for traffic management authorities. The REACT system senses 'natural' (such as atmospheric conditions) and infrastructure conditions within and in the vicinity of each vehicle, transmits the sensed real-time data to a central server where they are aggregated and analysed. The server then generates safety alerts, speed and route recommendations to be communicated to specific vehicle drivers, and also relevant information for road and law enforcement authorities.
The REACT project aimed to demonstrate the technical feasibility of:
- developing/adapting real time mobile sensors that measure natural and infrastructure conditions,
- developing a method for generating in-car recommendations to the driver based strictly on data from the vehicle's in-car sensors,
- developing state-of-the-art secure communication capability,
- developing/adapting analysis, prediction, and decision-making models in a central server.
The methodology set out for the REACT project involved 4 steps:
1. Technical developments:
- Development of measuring and sensing technology with an emphasis on mobile sensors in order to provide full road coverage,
- Development of an adapted traffic management information system,
- Development of transmission systems.
2. Software developments: development of predictive models that undertake the analysis of the road conditions; the output of these models comprises accident risk predictions and traffic and route quality predictions. This information is then transmitted to vehicles and road-operators.
3. Field tests were undertaken on a test site in Munich.
4. A socio-economic evaluation was undertaken in order to test user acceptance and conduct a commercial evaluation of the system.
The expected end results related to the objectives of the first period were the following:
- Real time mobile sensors that measure natural and infrastructure conditions.
- Generated in-car recommendations to the driver based strictly on data from the vehicle’s in-car sensors based on a well designed decision-making model.
- Developed state-of-the-art secure within car communication capability from sensors to in-car computer and between the car and the central server (two-way communication).
- Prediction, and decision-making models developed (Natural and infrastructure prediction model, traffic monitoring model, safety risk prediction model, traffic prediction model, decision-making model).
The establishment of the REACT system:
- Integrating mobile sensors with a central analytic and decision-making system;
- Utilising effective communications within vehicles, between each vehicle and the central server, and from the central server to interested public authorities;
- Where REACT is fully coordinated with existing regional traffic management systems;
- will be a first step towards a system of greater knowledge of traffic and safety conditions, better prediction models and, ultimately, greater control of transport safety and efficiency.
The REACT project had the potential of reducing traffic fatalities, increasing road transport efficiency, and contributing to greater standardisation and harmonisation throughout Europe.
- Economic and Societal Impact:
- Reducing traffic fatalities
- Improved transportation efficiency
- Cross-Europe Impact
- The Issue of privacy and individual freedom
- Driver Acceptance