Understand the future first

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Vulnerable road users in a cooperative transport system

Eighty to ninety percent of today’s traffic accidents are due to human error. Many these accidents can probably be avoided in a few years in a cooperative transport system.

In a cooperative transport system, data on all transport users is collected in a cloud. The data is then sent to those transport users who can use the information, for example, those who are nearby and are interested in congestion.

Report on vulnerable road users

The technology is already advanced, and connected vehicles can today already ”see” and avoid each other to a great extent. But with regards to vulnerable road users, the case is somewhat more difficult. This is highlighted in a report from Trivector entitled “Pedestrians and cyclists within the connected and cooperative transport system.” The report is financed by the Swedish Transport Administration through the Skyltfonden fund.

Connecting pedestrians and cyclists

Connected vehicles can – to a certain extent – recognise the shapes and movements of people, but the technology needs to be further developed. One way to do this is to give vulnerable road users some type of device that picks up or sends signals. Another way for pedestrians and cyclists to be connected is for them to be connected through an app in a smartphone which they are already carrying. A third alternative is for motor vehicles to be become even better than they are today at recognising people who walk or cycle.

- The benefit of including pedestrians and cyclists in cooperative systems is that we can avoid  a large number of single accidents and even collision accidents between different vulnerable road users, says Jonas Åström, Trivector, one of the authors of the report. The system can for example warn about slippery surfaces, barriers on the cycle lane or approaching crossings.

Difficulties with legislation

A lot of the technology that is needed for a cooperative transport system already exists today. The biggest hurdle today regards agreeing on legislative issues. There are difficult moral questions to address, for example in traffic situations when a vulnerable road user is in front of a car which cannot stop in time. Who should the car drive into? Another question regards acceptance in society.

-In about 2030 I think that we will start to pilot test widespread cooperative transport systems, says Jonas. And then we can start to use them on a larger scale a few years later.

More information

Read Trivector’s report (in Swedish): Fotgängare och cyklister inom det uppkopplade och samverkande transportsystemet, or contact Jonas Åström, 0046 10-456 56 31.

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