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Innovative concepts for smart road restraint systems to provide greater safety for vulnerable road users

Periodic Report Summary - SMART RRS (Innovative concepts for smart road restraint systems to provide greater safety for vulnerable road users)

The general objective of the SMART RRS project is to reduce the number of injuries and deaths caused by road traffic accidents to vulnerable road users such as motorcyclists, cyclists and passengers through the development of a smart road restraint system. To achieve this objective, the system shall:
- Reduce the number of accidents through better information on the actual state of the road and traffic flow. The system will collect relevant information and make it available to road users through informative panels.
- Eliminate dangerous profiles from crash barriers. Many injuries and deaths are result of impacts with current systems especially for vulnerable road users where impacts with supports or edges usually result in amputations or sectioning of torsos in a guillotine effect.
- Optimise road safety by providing exact information of where and when accidents happen. The RRS will be able to collect relevant information and immediately send it to emergency and maintenance services

Project phases and current stage
Three main phases are envisaged within the project.

Phase 1 deals with the analysis of current RRS and gaps that need to be filled; it includes the analysis of the characteristics of road traffic accidents concerning vulnerable road users, as well as a review of standards and current S&T. This phase is already finished. Characteristics of traffic accidents involving collision with RRS have been obtained, and particularly searching for the main characteristics of those accidents where motorcyclists get injured because of contact with fixed objects, outside the road, or with the road restraint systems. In addition, the main parameters of these accidents (range of speeds at the point of impact, angles of impact, frequency of injuries by body region, etc.) have been characterised. Also, an evaluation of current standards relating to motorist protection systems has been done (UNE 135900, and EQUS9910208C) complemented with the evaluation of internal protocols for the design, certification and homologation for motorist protection systems available; and with a study of the state of the art for current motorist and road protection systems.

Phase 2, still under development, deals with the development of the IRRS components. This phase includes the development of RRS materials and barrier profile, development of primary smart RRS sensors and development of tertiary smart RRS sensors. The consortium is working in the development of the new barrier structure, focussing on new materials and profiles that will provide greater secondary safety protection to all road users. This includes finite models for the analysis of the new profiles and components. Several of these models have been already validated by means of comparison with experimental results. Preliminary work has also been done related to the development of the sensor systems for primary safety and tertiary road safety.

Finally, phase 3, to be started in the second mid-stage of this project, deals with the integration, demonstration and validation of the new intelligent road restraint system.

Expected final results
Upon completion of the project a new smart restraint system will be developed with the following features:

- Able to be integrated with the current system.
- Cost effective, in terms of materials, installation and running costs.
- Will minimise additional demands on the infrastructure.
- Will not provide additional risks to those colliding with the RRS, particularly vulnerable road users.
- Robust against the environment.
- Robust against system degradation (e.g. the loss of a sensing node will still allow the system as a whole to function).
- Robust against false triggering (emergency services are not called unnecessarily).
- Each sensing node should know its location.
- Sensing nodes should be modular - additional functionality to be easily integrated depending on the location.
- Capable of being integrated with other roadside infrastructure and traffic systems.