Impacts of Connected Vehicles and Automated Vehicles on State and Local Transportation Agencies--Task-Order Support. Safety of Vulnerable Road Users in a C/AV Future

One of the most compelling arguments for a connected vehicle/automated vehicle (C/AV) future is the promise of safety improvements and reduction of motor vehicle crash related fatalities and serious injuries. Particularly, out of the recent estimates of 35,000 to 40,000 traffic fatalities every year, more than one-third of the fatalities occur “outside the vehicle,” which includes motorcyclists, pedestrians, and bicyclists. For example, the fatal pedestrian crash in 2018 between the self-driving sport utility vehicle (SUV) operated by Uber highlighted that self-driving cars are currently not infallible; AVs frequently misidentify or are blind to objects and humans in the road and make wrong decisions on whether to stop or keep driving in response. Pedestrians, cyclists, and other vulnerable road users (VRUs) are most at risk of injury or death when interacting with vehicles, particularly as drivers are driving faster, in heavier vehicles, and distracted. Connectivity is expected to improve safety for VRUs, but at the responsibility of the VRU to remain constantly “connected” through technology. However, it is not possible, nor equitable, to assume that every pedestrian or cyclist will be carrying a connected device at all times. This project will explore how VRUs could be protected by C/AV and infrastructure technologies in the absence of user-carried smartphone or wearables (e.g., audio, external vehicle displays). The research team will explore and summarize types of on-vehicle and on-street technologies that help protect pedestrians, cyclists and other VRUs sharing the road with C/AVs. These technologies may involve: (1) Detection technologies (e.g., LIDAR and machine vision); (2) Communication methods (e.g., ways for the vehicle to indicate to pedestrians/cyclists to “go ahead” and other ways to replicate current human-to-human communication on the road; auditory or visual cues originating from the vehicle); (3) Infrastructure technologies (e.g., enhanced traffic signal or other roadside unit technologies); (4) Infrastructure design (e.g., designing C/AV roadways and parking locations to prevent harmful interactions with pedestrians and bicyclists, such as prevention of “dooring”). The research team will do a literature review of existing technologies and conduct interviews with experts (e.g., researchers and C/AV original equipment manufacturers (OEMs)) to provide a summary of the current state of the art technologies and future technologies currently being explored on vehicles and outside of vehicles to address safety of VRUs. Then, the team will identify the following for each technology: feasibility; likely effectiveness in prevention of injury and death; any barriers to implementing this technology; policy or legislative requirements for implementing this technology; and the cost-benefit estimate of implementing the technology. Finally, this assessment will also provide recommendations for prioritization of technologies to be implemented by OEMs or by local/state/federal agencies such that they are provided a plan of action towards implementation of testing and pilot projects to demonstrate feasibility of technologies.

Language

  • English

Project

  • Status: Proposed
  • Funding: $150000
  • Contract Numbers:

    Project 20-102(33)

  • Sponsor Organizations:

    National Cooperative Highway Research Program

    Transportation Research Board
    500 Fifth Street, NW
    Washington, DC  United States  20001

    American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO)

    444 North Capitol Street, NW
    Washington, DC  United States  20001

    Federal Highway Administration

    1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
    Washington, DC  United States  20590
  • Start Date: 20201019
  • Expected Completion Date: 0
  • Actual Completion Date: 0

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01754906
  • Record Type: Research project
  • Source Agency: Transportation Research Board
  • Contract Numbers: Project 20-102(33)
  • Files: TRB, RiP
  • Created Date: Oct 19 2020 3:09PM