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Vulnerable Road User Traffic Observation and Optimization


The work in VRU-TOO is targeted specifically at the reduction of risk and minimization of delay to vulnerable road users, namely pedestrians. To achieve this, the project links implementations with behavioural studies of the micro-level interaction of pedestrians and vehicles.
Research is being carried out in order to reduce risk and minimize delay to vulnerable road users, namely pedestrians. The project links detection techniques with behavioural studies of the interaction of pedestrians and vehicles.
The implementations take the form of pilot projects in cities in both northern and southern Europe involving the application of advanced detector systems to improve conditions for pedestrians, particularly at signalized junctions and crossings.
Behavioural work is being carried out to create detailed rules for the normal (safe) and abnormal (unsafe) interaction of pedestrians and vehicles.

A review has been undertaken of all the existing technologies for detecting pedestrians. Simultaneously, the feasibility phase for all the implementations has been conducted and reports delivered for the Portuguese and Greek sites where the design phase is now under way. In all cases, cooperation with the respective cities is continuing and it is expected that the installations will take place as planned and on time.

The behavioural work has started with the formulation of initial hypotheses and a specification of the variables and data need to formulate the rules on pedestrian car interaction. Collection of the data required for the empirical formulation of a set of rules is complete in the 4 countries concerned. Conflict studies are being coordinated with video observations and the first round of analysis of the data has been carried out. The analysis indicates that at nonsignalized intersections pedestrian behaviour is the main predictor of conflict occurrence, whereas at signalized intersections vehicle factors have the most important role.

The computer modelling work is implementing the pedestrian meso model from V1031 in Portugal. Simultaneously agreement is being reached on the specification of an improved version of the model.
Technical Approach

The implementations will take the form of pilot projects in cities in both northern and southern Europe. They will involve the application of advanced detector systems to improve conditions for pedestrians, particularly at signalized junctions and crossings. The northern European implementation will involve the application of these techniques to a large city-centre scheme, where pedestrian needs will conflict with those of vehicle traffic. The systems will be designed in such a way as to obtain the maximum safety and minimum delay for VRUs, with as little inconvenience to motorized traffic as possible. Two smaller implementations will be conducted at urban locations in Portugal and Greece, where once again it is difficult to satisfy both the needs of pedestrians and those of vehicles. This work will verify the applicability of the same detection techniques in different environments.

At the same time, the project will carry out the necessary behavioural work to create detailed rules for the normal (safe) and abnormal (unsafe) interaction of pedestrians and vehicles. These rules will initially be developed independently of the pilot project locations, but the rules generated will be used in the behavioural evaluation of the pilot projects. This will make it possible to go beyond the normal assessment of such schemes in terms of success or failure, by making it possible to obtain an understanding of how the behaviour of pedestrians and vehicle drivers is affected by the schemes and therefore of what the requirements for success are. This work will permit the generalization of project results to other locations and other types of implementation.

Together with the results of the experimental work, the behavioural rules will provide the necessary tools for future application of the project's methods and techniques for solving the problems of vulnerable road users.

Key Issues

reliable detection of VRUs
the incorporation of passive detection of pedestrians into traffic schemes
variation in pedestrian response to implementations incorporating the ATT technology
changes in pedestrian-vehicle interaction resulting from the implementations
prediction of the outcome of future implementations

Expected Achievements At present, pedestrians encounter significant safety and mobility problems when crossing major roads in urban areas. The project implementations are intended to demonstrate that the systems, developed in DRIVE I for improving pedestrian comfort and safety at signalized crossings, can be incorporated into large-scale urban traffic schemes, where the pedestrian signals are linked to urban traffic control systems. They are also intended to demonstrate that these systems are viable in a number of countries, in both northern and southern Europe. The costs of such VRU implementations will still be comparatively low, especially when compared with the overall cost of most traffic schemes. The potential benefits, in a situation where time and safety for VRUs can at present often be obtained only at the expense of considerable congestion for vehicular traffic, will be large. It is therefore confidently expected that, if the implementations prove viable, these techniques will become commonplace in the future. Such fut re implementations will be greatly assisted by the behavioural rules and modelling tools to be developed. These will provide a source of knowledge, advice and prediction, and will therefore constitute an essential set of tools in the design of future schemes.

Expected Impact

The project is expected to verify that ATT techniques that incorporate the passive detection of pedestrians can be incorporated into traffic signal control in a variety of environments in such a way as to improve vulnerable road user comfort and safety. The project will also demonstrate the feasibility of using such techniques together with advanced means of traffic control.

Contribution to Standardisation

It is expected that the techniques applied in the pedestrian crossing facilities to be implemented will become the basis for future national and European standards.


University of Leeds
37 University Road
LS2 9JT Leeds
United Kingdom

Participants (5)

Univ. Of Coimbra
3049 Coimbra Codex
9,Kondylaki Street
11141 Athens

22100 Lund

9750 AB Haren
West Yorkshire Highways Engineering and Technical Services
United Kingdom
313 Albion Street
LS2 8JX Leeds