Design School


Understanding the causes of Road Accidents with a new Decision Support System

Group: Behavioural Safety

Project: SafetyCube- Development of a Road safety Decision Support System for policy makers

May 2015- April 2018


Pete Thomas

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SafetyCube will provide a new Decision Support System (DSS) that will develop an in-depth understanding of the causes of road accidents and guide road safety stakeholders to identify the most cost-effective measures that will address the most pressing road safety problems. Analytic methods will be developed to ensure that risk factors and measures concerning the road, road user and vehicle are all evaluated in a comparable manner. State of the art evaluations of accident risk factors and safety measures based on accident data analysis will be at the heart of the project. Key road safety themes (hot topics) will be used to develop and demonstrate the integrated approach of the project and the future potential of the DSS The current EC emphasis on serious injuries will be a major topic to be addressed. An operational framework will be established to ensure the continuation of the DSS and provide a future facility whereby stakeholders will be able to commission further safety reviews and impact studies once the project is completed.

To achieve this SafetyCube has the following sub-objectives:

1. To develop new analytic methods to: 

  • Identify the most important risk factors for crashes
  • Assess the safety effects[1] of measures that address these factors
  • Assess serious injuries and socio-economic costs in crashes
  • Conduct Cost-Benefit Analyses taking account of human and material costs.   

2. To apply these methods to available safety data to identify the key accident causation mechanisms, risk factors and the most cost-effective road safety measures for fatally and seriously injured casualties

3. To develop an operational framework to ensure the project facilities can be accessed and updated beyond the completion of SafetyCube

[1] “Safety effects” is the term that will be used throughout this proposal for referring to the effectiveness of measures, the Crash Modification Factors etc.


SafetyCube will:

  • Contribute to delivering essential knowledge for the design and implementation of an efficient strategy to make European road users (particularly Vulnerable Road Users), vehicles and infrastructure safer, and so
  • Promote the development of the European Road Safety Observatory.
  • Overall, research will contribute to the achievement of the European policy objective of halving road deaths by 2020, and,
  • In the longer term, to the Transport White Paper's "Vision Zero" objective.   (Topic: Traffic safety analysis and integrated approach towards the safety of Vulnerable Road Users)

You can contact Professor Pete ThomasDr. Karthikeyan Ekambaram, Dr Ashleigh Filtness, Claire QuigleyRachel Talbot, Steve Reed, Alice Magrin or Laurie Brown for more information on SafetyCube or their other research.