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Loughborough spearheads €5.8m project to help halve European road deaths

Road safety experts at Loughborough University are leading a €5.8m European project designed to help halve road deaths in Europe by 2020.

25,900 fatalities occurred on Europe’s roads in 2012. More than half of these fatalities (55%) were vulnerable road users such as pedestrians, cyclists, motorcyclists, children, the elderly and disabled. The European Commission (EC) has set ambitious targets to halve this figure by 2020, and reach close to zero fatalities by 2050.

Funded by the EC’s Horizon 2020 Programme, SafetyCube will develop an evidence-based road safety decision support system (DSS) to enable policy-makers and stakeholders to identify the most cost-effective measures to address the most pressing road safety problems.

The project brings together 18 partners from 15 European countries and spans all elements of road safety from infrastructures and speed limits, to vehicles, road users, and driver behaviour. The team of transdisciplinary experts will bring in-depth road traffic accident data resources together with detailed injury databases, trauma registers, insurance data and information on road user behaviour.

Project lead Professor Pete Thomas, of the Safe and Smart Mobility Research Cluster in the Loughborough Design School, said:

“Road safety records for countries in the European Union vary considerably. If all member states had the road safety levels of the best performing countries it is estimated deaths would have been reduced by over 10,000 in 2012.

“SafetyCube is the first support system of its kind, and will help road safety policy-makers and industry stakeholders adopt the evidence-based policies of the most successful countries, as well as helping them identify the most cost-effective measuresmost suitable for their own country.

“Countries that perform best in road safety are those which uniformly have a strong evidence base and a systematic approach to policy making that starts by identifying causes and key risk factors. This has not been adopted by most EU Member States with the consequence that road safety policies may be erratic and not results-focussed. 

“But even the best performing countries do not have available an evidence-base of the breadth and depth to which SafetyCube will work, so all can expect to have opportunities to further reduce casualties on the basis of the SafetyCube Decision Support System.”

SafetyCube is the first systematic pan-European in-depth study of accident causation. As well as providing data on existing technologies, it will also enable predictive estimates to be made of the effectiveness of new technologies which may only be on the road in small numbers or not yet in use.