Designing safer and more efficient infrastructure

Science topics November 2014 InnovationTransport

Joël Yerpez, Director of the MAST Laboratory, FM2D Department

Accident on a motorway ©IFSTTAR DR Ref 2012-12-13--589

Road experts agree that real time digital data exchange systems, operating between the infrastructure and vehicles represent an essential development for the future.
Such roads are alternatively referred to as intelligent roads, the road of the future, or the 5th Generation Road. Their goal is to inform us about our trip, the weather, traffic levels, our location, the surrounding resources, etc. It will also provide improved security and safety.




Strategic data collection

Two types of information are taken Two road data recorders ©LMAinto account when developing driving strategies and tactics.
The first kind is used to plan an itinerary and to adapt to meteorological and traffic conditions, etc. It eases the trip management and therefore improves safety conditions with respect to spatiotemporal constraints.
The second type of information is used to help drivers to perform the driving task, and influence their instantaneous behaviour and cognitive capacities. The issue of the social acceptability of the system and its absolute reliability, in particular the immediate accuracy of the provided information, make the question even more complex.
These two types of information play different roles and isolate or confront them would not be relevant. By its very nature, road safety depends on both approaches.


Additional research

IFSTTAR is conducting many research projects which aim at anticipating driving difficulties caused by infrastructures, weather, traffic, etc. (the DIVAS and DIVAS et PALM) projects). Other projects permit the deployment of information systems that are dedicated to adverse weather conditions and some specific features of the infrastructure (SARI) linked to the traffic (METRAMOTO).
In addition to saving energy, eco-driving, which is studied in the SERRES project, aims to achieve the multi-criteria optimisation (energy consumption, safety, comfort, journey time, etc.) of driving tasks (navigation, guidance, stabilisation, etc.). Research works also focus on speed awareness and speed optimisation, in particular using connected vehicles and smartphones (Andrieu, 2013)¹.
One needs to be aware that various levels of equipment coexist on the road network. For example, highly equipped major roads exist alongside a dense, locally managed, secondary network on which the level of traffic is admittedly lower, but on which the fatality risk is twice as great (ONIRS, 2013)².


The need for appropriate equipment

Fully equipping the secondary road network is not economically sustainable. An alternative solution is to equip vehicles with additional devices.

Research in this area involves the development and deployment of in-vehicle event data recorders which automatically identify accident and incident situations. The collected data can be remotely processed (SVRAI project - Serre et al., 2013, 2014). Each pieces of information could then be directly sent to users, using their smartphone (dynamic personalised warnings in high-risk zones, for example).



1. Andrieu C.(2013),  Modélisation fonctionnelle de profils de vitesse en lien avec l'infrastructure et méthodologie de construction.

2. ONIRS (2013), La sécurité routière en France, bilan de l’accidentalité de l’année 2012, La documentation Française, 107p.


Serre T., Naude C., Chauvet S., Fournier JY., Lechner D., Ledoux V. (2013), Towards a classification of road incidents acquired from public fleets of vehicles, Second International Symposium on Future Active Safety Technology toward zero traffic accident, September 22-26, Nagoya, Japan.

Serre T., Naude C., Fournier JY.,Dubois Lounis M., Chauvet S., Lechner D., Ledoux V., (2014), Causes of road incidents , Transport Research Arena, Paris.