The UN General Assembly (2020) proclaimed the Decade of Action for Road Safety 2021-2030 and set a target of preventing at least 50% of road traffic deaths by 2030. However, without new tools and methods, the world is unlikely to meet UN targets.
A growing number of national and local governments adopted Vision Zero and seek to eliminate road traffic deaths. To make it happen, they embrace a holistic approach to traffic safety called the Safe System approach. The Safe System approach is considered the best practice among road safety professionals. It acknowledges that humans inevitably make mistakes, and that all parts of the transport system must contribute to avoiding a fatal outcome in the event of a collision. In a Safe System, the planning approach is not strictly reactive to incidents; such an incremental approach lacks pace, scale and ambition.
Importantly, Vision Zero is proactive, identifying risk factors in all parts of the system and seeking to address them before serious harm occurs. It puts particular emphasis on building a safe road system, rather than fixing crash accumulation spots.
Why good quality cycling data is needed to support Vision Zero
Cycling is good for wellbeing and creates inclusive, liveable cities. To make it attractive to more people, we need to design out risks and create safe spaces and conditions for cycling and road users.
At present, the main way that Local Authorities identify where serious and fatal collisions involving cyclists happen is by using the lag indicator of STATS19 reports, which is reactive, slow and limited as a result of incomplete knowledge.
By gathering and analysing advanced bicycle road use data, in addition to the official published figures, we can start to build a more accurate picture of the genuine state of UK road infrastructure and safety levels currently in use by pedal cyclists (in both a work and leisure context).
At See.Sense, we harness the power of technology, to predict where collisions involving cyclists are likely to occur.Our approach is novel because the value of kinematic driving behaviour in crash risk prediction has been shown for use in cars, but never done before for bicycles - we are making connected-bike safety possible. With our patented sensor technology, we capture never before seen insights to inform safety including swerving, braking, collisions, road surface conscious, speed and dwell times.
In a previous project, RoSPA and See.Sense demonstrated how this methodology, using data collected from bicycles mounted with See.Sense bike lights, showed that See.Sense technology can be used to identify hazardous locations.
While static AI sensor cameras are being used in some cities to detect cyclists and attempt to identify near-miss events, there are limitations. Firstly, cameras tend to be located at busy junctions and major A roads and highways, leaving many gaps in coverage including quieter routes favoured by cyclists. Secondly, the ‘near-miss’ detection algorithms are limited by available data such as speed of passing cars, or proximity but do not have granular data on swerving and braking. Our approach overcomes these challenges and can complement static AI sensor cameras. Using See.Sense crowdsourced sensor data we can identify hazardous locations outside areas covered by cameras.
Our work is helping to tackle one of the largest barriers to cycling, that many people do not feel safe cycling on UK roads. By taking a data-led approach, we can help local authorities address safety in a proactive way.
To find out how See.Sense technology and data services can help with your Vision Zero and road safety target please email firstname.lastname@example.org and a member of our team will be in touch.
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