Traffic Accident Causation in Europe
In support of the eSafety initiative, and as a prerequisite for diagnosis and evaluation of the most promising active safety technologies, the Commission asked for:
- Research in consistent accident causation analysis to gain a detailed knowledge about the real backgrounds of European traffic accidents using existing data sources.
- Research to assess the potential impact and socio-economic cost/benefit, up to 2020, of stand-alone and co-operative intelligent vehicle safety systems in Europe.
TRACE Objectives were:
- The identification and the assessment (in terms of saved lives and avoided accidents), among possible technology-based safety functions, of the most promising solutions that can assist the driver or any other road users in a normal road situation or in an emergency situation or, as a last resort, mitigate the violence of crashes and protect the vehicle occupants, the pedestrians, and the two-wheelers in case of a crash or a rollover.
- The determination and the continuous up-dating of the aetiology, i.e. causes, of road accidents (as well as the causes of injuries) and the assessment of whether the existing technologies or the technologies under current development address the real needs of the road users inferred from the accident and driver behaviour analyses.
Scientific Project's Objectives:
The above two main orientations could be subdivided into several scientific objectives:
- The definition of Accident Causation was unclear. Many factors influence a country's transportation safety level. These factors concern road safety policy, distribution and crashworthiness of the fleet, road network characteristics, human behaviour and attitudes, travel conditions, environment, etc. These issues were studied for decades and considerable prevention efforts were inferred from the analysis and comprehension of these factors. Nevertheless, further efforts are needed. These factors have to be studied together in order to provide a comprehensive and understandable definition of accident causation at the end of the project.
- The second objective was to provide the scientific community, stakeholders, suppliers, the vehicle industry and the other Integrated Safety programme participants with a global overview of the road accident causation issues in Europe, and possibly overseas, based on the analysis of currently available databases which include accident, injury, insurance, medical and exposure data (including driver behavior in normal driving conditions). The aim was to identify, characterise and quantify the nature of risk factors, groups at risk, specific safety-related or risk-related societal issues, specific conflict driving situations and accident situations.
- The third objective was to make this overview comprehensive, understandable and operational. Hence all aspects of safety would be taken into account in order to answer the following questions:
In accordance with the objectives, TRACE was divided into four series of Work packages:
- The Operational Work packages proposed three different research angles for the definition of accident causation, the quantification of the risk factors, and the evaluation of the effectiveness of safety functions.
WP1: Road Users;
WP2: Types of driving and accident situations;
WP3: Types of risk factors;
WP4: Evaluation of the effectiveness of safety functions;
- The Methodologies Work packagesassisted the operational Work packages by providing them with enhanced methodologies especially concerning human factors and statistics. One Work package was also devoted to the listing of existing and potential safety functions and technologies.
WP5: Human factors;
WP6: Safety functions;
WP7: Statistical methods;
- The Data Supply Work package (WP8) acted as a technical support to the operational WPs. Data from different sources were treated and prepared in this WP in order to feed the other WPs with aggregated data, statistical tables and other material that would be analysed in the operational WPs. Outcomes of this Work Package were continuous.
- Finally, the Management Work package (WP9) was to lead, manage and monitor the whole project.
The outcomes of the project were mainly reports, focussing on operational results, methodological aspects, and of course a large set of descriptive and analytic statistics about accident causation.
This research addressed the existing understanding of accident and injury causes, levels and trends through reliable exposure, accident and injury data systems. The project team based its safety diagnosis on available, reliable and accessible existing and on-going databases.
The Project’s research challenges:
- A Diagnosis of traffic safety problems at the European Level with three research angles (Road Users – Types of Situations –Risk Factors);
- three kinds of analysis : Descriptive statistics – In-Depth analysis –Risk Analysis;
- Evaluation of the most promising technologies : ex ante and ex post;
- Methodological improvements in Human factors Analysis and Statistical Analysis;
- Rely on a set of various accident and exposure databases.
- Operational and methodological reports;
- Descriptive and analytical statistics about accident causation;
- Qualitative reports on accident causation mechanisms from road user, factor and accident scenario perspectives;
- Cooperation with other projects (especially eIMPACT and SafetyNet).