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.
The INROADS FP7 project led by TRL with seven European partners has developed intelligent road studs (also known as cats eyes) containing LED lighting, sensors and communication technologies, which will enable enhanced traffic management and road user information, representing a major advance over the existing retroreflective studs. During the development of the studs, several designs and technologies were considered for vehicle detection, with low power consumption and wireless communication as essential requirements to meet.
For the final validation tests, some INROADS studs were installed in a closed test track at CIDAUT facilities. The aim of these tests was to validate their global operation and achieve some preliminary results and guidelines in relation to the installation of the studs and their effect and benefits on night driving. Thus, a thorough photometric study was carried, analyzing visibility and glare of the LED studs in use. Besides, drivers’ feelings and behavior have been evaluated by CIDAUT human factors team. An instrumented vehicle has also been used to record drivers’ speed and trajectory in order to compare the data with and without the studs.
The result: a sensor network consisting of embedded LED studs able to detect passing vehicles and communicate with each other and with a central control in order to light your way as you drive along, highlighting the lane delineation and enhancing visibility without glare. So far, tests have demonstrated a very positive effect on night driving, increasing comfort, perceived safety and easiness of driving. Also, it has been proved that they cause no glare at all, while they have a greater conspicuity and visibility compared to standard retroreflective studs. This implies a significant safety benefit, particularly on unlit roads. In such situations, they offer an extremely attractive and cost effective solution to traditional street lighting, in that they offer many of the safety benefits, but with a much lower capital and operational cost.
And in case you are worrying about energy and power consumption, there is no need to: they are also able to harvest renewable energy from their environment thanks to some integrated solar photovoltaic panels. Thus, not only are these studs intelligent, but also energetically self-sufficient.
So after three years of hard work of all seven partners involved, we are proud to present the first intelligent self-powered LED studs. Now we can say that we have enlightened a little the way to intelligent roads. Future is drawing nearer.
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!
One more year, Cidaut was exhibiting at the European Automotive Testing Expo, which took place in Stuttgart (Germany) from June 24th to June 26th.
The Automotive Testing Expo is the global exhibition for every aspect of vehicle, motorcycle and components testing, validation, reliability assessment, quality evaluation and related data capture and analysis. It is the only event of its type taking place globally, and the essential environment for every vehicle and motorcycle test and validation system, with around 300 exhibiting parties. The latest technologies and new iterations of existing technologies are shown. This is an event that you should visit every year if you are involved in any area of vehicle, motorcycle and components testing, evaluation, quality engineering and validation.
This year, three departments from Cidaut were involved in the exhibition, namely Acoustics & Vibrations, Mechanical Testing and Vehicle Safety. We showed our visitors how partnering with CIDAUT can help them to speed up their developments thanks to our concurrent engineering basis where a full range of testing facilities, numerical modelling and engineering services with multidisciplinary experts are combined together on the same place.