The preliminary results from the 3 year naturalistic driving project have been presented at the UDRIVE final event – the UDRIVE Experience – which took place on 7 June 2017 in the Hague, the Netherlands. Around 100 participants attended the final event and participated in the interesting rotating sessions covering different naturalistic driving topics such as risky driving, distraction, cyclists and pedestrians, eco-driving, motorists and trucks. Cidaut was present as the motorcycle Operation Site and doing the vehicle demonstrator for the motorcycles. Two UDRIVE equipped vehicles – a motorcycle and a car – showed the participants the UDRIVE Data Acquisition System (DAS) and how is it integrated in the vehicles.
UDRIVE Data Collection
The data was collected during the European research project UDRIVE. In 6 different European countries, lorries, passenger cars and motorcycles were equipped with measuring equipment and cameras. The vehicles and their drivers have been “followed” for 2 years in daily use.
The UDRIVE research also looked at the different driving styles. This showed that the so-called ‘ecodriving’ within the built-up can lead to 25% less fuel consumption and emissions.
The UDRIVE project has provided a comprehensive database of data about everyday rides and how drivers behave during those rides. In total, nearly 90,000 hours of driving data were collected from almost 300 drivers. The vehicle includes, among others, cameras outside and inside, and a smart camera that recognizes and locates other road users, and, for example, calculates the distance to a driver or a cyclist approaching.
“This is the big difference with an experimental environment, or a rhythm simulator research,” says UDRIVE project coordinator Nicole van Nes. “After a week, the majority of participants in the research have lost the idea of being filmed, and one can see the ‘natural driving behavior. Therefore this method is also called naturalistic driving. With this method, we get a better picture of actual behavior in daily traffic than with questionnaires or driving simulator research. “
UDRIVE final results and highlights will be published soon on www.udrive.eu. Keep an eye on the website in the upcoming weeks.
CIDAUT is a member of VRUITS project consortium which, among other activities, is assessing three different technologies regarding pedestrian and cyclists’ safety.
The main target is further developing and enabling the commercialization of these technological initiatives based on pedestrian and cyclists’ safety, which have been experimentally applied in Valladolid, Alcalá de Henares (both in Spain) and Helmond (the Netherlands). These initiatives are derived from the work performed within VRUITS project (“Improving the Safety and Mobility of Vulnerable Road Users through its Applications”).
In Valladolid (Spain), a smart pedestrian crossing was launched thanks to this project. In this crossing a camera allows counting the number of people waiting to cross in a traffic light and lets them pass if the number of people and the waiting time reaches a certain value. Thanks to this system urban agglomerations can be avoided, as the threshold is set to 17 people, and the mobility and safety are improved for pedestrians.
Another location of VRUITS project is placed in Alcalá de Henares (Madrid, Spain). A technological system has been implemented at a urban intersection in which a traffic light detects the pedestrian trajectory and decides whether to extend the green light duration or not. This way, people with special mobility needs can be detected and as their crossing will take longer time, the traffic adapts to their safety. Additionally, a smartphone app has been developed in which the user can ask for a traffic light to turn green, which has been very favourably viewed by users with disabilities who can not access some traffic lights buttons.
The final project location is situated in Helmond (the Netherlands), where VRUITS project has set up the third initiative, which relates to cyclists’ protection. There is an infrastructure element that detects cyclists and send a signal to a vehicle, which processor can communicate if there is a risk of collision both for the driver or the cyclist, and if the crash is imminent, an emergency braking system is activated.
It is important to remark that some of these advanced technologies systems pass almost unnoticed in Spain, but whenever they are showed and explained, the acceptation becomes very good in cities and for those people with special mobility needs. These initiatives can be transferred to any other country, and several industrial partners have been contacted for further research actions. All these measures have been thought with vulnerable road users in mind.
VRUITS (Improving the Safety and Mobility of Vulnerable Road Users through ITS Applications) is a research project co-funded by the European Commission under the 7th Framework Program. The Project VRUITS investigates how safety, mobility and comfort of vulnerable road uses can be improved with intelligent transport systems. 12 partners from 8 different countries take part in this research project.
On September 23rd, CIDAUT Foundation, as VRUITS project partner, organized a session for dissemination of the results obtained from pedestrian demonstrators developed in Spain within the project. In the session also participated SICE and POLIS, as project partners, and Valladolid City Council, as project Associated Member.
The session intended to be a country-based dissemination event as a way to promote demonstration activities as well as the project as a whole on the local and national level to authorities and ITS industry. The aim was to the establish the session as a disseminator towards other cities in the country and also served as a way to get the necessary local, regional and national stakeholders on board for the implementation of VRUITS concepts. The event counted on the participation of more than 30 attendees belonging to authorities, ITS industry and research-oriented organizations, among them, the Major of Valladolid. Moreover, local and regional media mentioned the session, including press news, radio interviews and a short filmation included in local TV within daily news.
At the start of the session, POLIS presented Key mobility trends in Europe, focussed on cyclist and pedestrians. Afterwards, Valladolid City Council showed actions focussed on mobility in Valladolid within the last years. Then, CIDAUT Foundation presented an overview of VRUITS project to the attendees. Finally, systems oriented to pedestrians located in Valladolid and Alcalá de Henares were explained by CIDAUT Foundation and SICE, and results of the trials as well as conclusions drawn from the statistical analysis of the data collected during pilot tests performed within VRUITS project were shown by CIDAUT Foundation.
Main conclusions reported during the season were:
- Implemented systems allow for collecting accurate data on pedestrian flows and tendencies, thus enabling a better traffic management in the surroundings of the installation.
- It has been demonstrated that pedestrian mobility was improved. In Valladolid test site, waiting time of the pedestrians at the crossing dropped 20% after system implementation and, accordingly, pedestrian congestions were also reduced.
- Most users do not consciously perceive the implementation of the systems, neither the mobility improvement that has been reached due to said implementation. Nevertheless, it has been established that the users unconsciously perceived aforesaid mobility improvement through a comparative analysis of the questionnaires filled prior and after the implementation of the system.
- Once the objectives and benefits of the systems are explained to the users, they value them quite positively, although mistrust has been occasionally detected as some users are afraid of the potential use of the systems as penalising devices.
- Some specific vulnerable user groups value particularly well the systems, as occurred with disable people that gave their opinion about the system implemented in Alcala de Henares.
VRUITS (Improving the Safety and Mobility of Vulnerable Road Users through ITS Applications) is a Research project co-funded by the European Commission under the Seventh Framework Program (Grant Agreement Nº MOVE/FP7321586/VRUITS). It started in April 2013 and its final tasks are scheduled for March 2016. The Project VRUITS investigates how the safety, mobility and comfort of pedestrians, cyclists, Powered-Two-Wheelers and elderly drivers can be improved whit ITS applications. The research includes the improvement of the usability of different applications and the integration of VRUs in cooperative traffic systems.
Objectives of VRUITS project are:
- Assess societal impacts of ITS applications and provide recommendations for policies and industry on their usage, in order to improve the safety, mobility and comfort of VRUs;
- Recommend practices on how Vulnerable Road Users can be integrated in Intelligent Transport Systems and on how HMI designs can be adapted to meet the needs of VRUs, on the basis of evidences and through field trials.
The project consists of two vertical work packages: WP1 and WP7, and five horizontal work packages (WP 2-6) as shown in the figure.
First, an overview of existing and upcoming ITS systems for VRUs was provided. A total of 14 systems addressing pedestrians, 34 addressing cyclists, 28 for PTWs, and a number of 10 in-vehicle systems which benefit all kind of VRUs were initially picked. In order to identify the most promising solutions, a workshop was held with 40 relevant stakeholders including representatives of VRU groups, national and European authorities, infrastructure service providers and ITS-related organizations contributed to the prioritization process. Participants selected up to 22 applications having the highest potential for VRUs safety and rated these ITS solutions according to a set of criteria previously decided by VRUITS partners.
Activities in the next step addressed the adaptation of impact assessment methodology, in order to carry out qualitative and quantitative assessment of ITS for sub-groups of VRUs with regards to the aspects of safety, mobility and comfort, and to translate these into socioeconomic indicators. Moreover, user-acceptance and usability of existing ITS services for VRUs have been assessed, focusing on comfort, mobility and effectiveness of related information. A second workshop with stakeholders was held for this topic.
Thanks to the expertise of the participants, from the huge group of ITS initially assessed, 10 applications were withheld. The Consortium selected two of them to be demonstrated in Spain (Valladolid and Alcalá de Henares) and the Netherlands (Helmond): a cooperative Intersection Safety (INS) for cyclists in Helmond (Netherlands), an Intelligent Pedestrian Traffic Signal (IPTS) in Valladolid (Spain) and cooperative IPTS & a cooperative INS for drivers in Alcalá de Henares (Spain).
Equipment and applications at the test sites have been adapted and developed following the prioritization of ITS for VRUS and the recommended practices performed beforehand, in order to be suitable for testing by real users and under real environment.
- Valladolid site is based on the Intelligent Pedestrian Traffic Signal (IPTS) system: several Intelligent Pedestrian Detectors (IPDs) automatically detect pedestrians on the sidewalk next to the crossing, and based on their trajectories, IPDs decide whether pedestrians are waiting to cross the intersection. The IPDs send this information to an Interface Box, which gathers the data from all the IPDs and requests green light to the Traffic Light Controller (TLC) if there is a certain number of persons waiting. Then the TLC decides whether to give priority to pedestrians over vehicles and extend their green phase, based on the state of the traffic lights. This pilot also includes an Illumination on Demand Module (IDM), which is used to highlight the crossing and its surroundings, informing vehicles about the presence of pedestrians and thus enhancing the safety of the pedestrians. The objective of IPTS is to increase safety and comfort for pedestrians by automatically detecting them, extending their green phase and increasing illumination on the crossing. This application is mainly intended for areas with large amount of pedestrians.
- Alcalá de Henares site implements a smart traffic controller, which is based on the main characteristics of the Intelligent Pedestrian Traffic Signal (IPTS) and the Intersection Safety (INS) systems. The IPTS includes VRU2I (VRU-to-Infrastructure) and I2VRU (Infrastructure-to-VRU) communications where pedestrians can activate green light demand for crossing an intersection via their smart phone and in response to this, the traffic light controller (TLC) provides them the time remaining to activate pedestrian green light. While VRUs are crossing the IPTS detects them to extend the pedestrian green phase, ensuring their safe crossing. The INS includes I2V (Infrastructure-to-Vehicle) communications to inform drivers turning right, with low visibility, about pedestrians’ presence on the road. The detection of pedestrians on the crosswalk, made by the IPTS, is used to give this information to drivers. A drivers’ mobile application connected to a prototype device, able to communicate to the smart traffic controller, is developed for this function. The objectives of IPTS are increasing safety and comfort for pedestrians, (by allowing VRUs to activate a remote demand for green light and extending time on pedestrian green phase for safety crossing) and preventing collisions between right-turning vehicles with low/no visibility and crossing VRUs (by detecting the pedestrian crossing and warning the driver of the existing pedestrian crossing and iIncreasing the illumination at the pedestrian crossing).
At the end of September (date to be confirmed) a dissemination workshop targeted to local authorities and ITS industry will be held at CIDAUT premises. During this workshop, trial tests performed in both Spanish locations (Valladolid and Alcalá de Henares) will be presented, as well as an assessment on the results obtained.
Maybe some of you have already seen it on the media, but for those still unaware… Valladolid has launched the world’s first smart pedestrian crossing!!!
Within the framework of the VRUITS European Project (Improving the safety and mobility of vulnerable road users through ITS applications), and thanks to the close collaboration with the Valladolid City Council, CIDAUT has installed an intelligent system that solves the problem of people detection and counting in all kind of environments using a brand new technology. This idea of measuring and monitoring people flow was found very appealing in order to improve urban mobility and the system quickly found its way on the crossing between the streets Claudio Moyano and Santiago, one of the most crowded spots in Valladolid city centre.
The aim of the installation was on one the hand detect and count pedestrians on Calle Santiago, to measure people flow and see how it varies depending on the time of day and from one day to another. The system is also able to distinguish different directions, allowing making statistics of people following one sense or another separately. On the other hand, Calle Santiago is the main pedestrian street in the city centre, being Claudio Moyano the only road crossing it. This means this particular crossing supports daily a huge amount of people. Taking pedestrian flow into account to adapt traffic lights in real time is crucial to improve pedestrian’s mobility and safety in the crossing.
This new smart system counts all passersby, determining how many people are waiting to cross, and it sends all the information to the traffic lights control to adapt the green phase accordingly if there are too many pedestrians on the waiting areas.
And what is the difference with the traditional push-buttons? Well, this system provides two main advantages over the old-fashioned buttons. Firstly, it does not depend on users to be activated. Sometimes people are oblivious to the need of pushing the button in order to activate the pedestrian green phase on some crossings, while others are impaired and unable to push it, leaving the most vulnerable road users aside. Secondly, this system allows resuming traffic flow if pedestrians are no longer waiting to cross. Haven’t you ever been retained needlessly in some traffic lights just because someone pushed the button and then left?
In addition and in order to increase pedestrian safety even more, a smart lighting module has been also implemented to illuminate pedestrians on the zebra crossing, providing an enhanced visibility so that drivers can perceive pedestrians better and react accordingly.
After all these months of hard work, here is the system installed:
C/ Santiago, towards Plaza Mayor C/ Santiago, towards Plaza Zorrilla
So if you happen to be in Valladolid and walk around that area, remember… we are watching over you!