Design School


Understanding road traffic collisions

Group: Transport Safety

Project: Title: On The Spot Study (OTS)

Investigating accidents at the scene to build understanding of human involvement, injuries, vehicle and highway design

10 Years 2000 - 2010




In order to develop effective strategies and countermeasures to reduce road crashes and injuries, knowledge of their causes is required. The best source and quality of information is only available at the scene of crashes minutes after they have occurred.

There are benefits from collecting crash data at the accident scene, indeed much of the information necessary to understand complex road safety questions can only be found at the scene.

The OTS crash study utilised a team of trained crash researchers to conduct investigations before 'perishable' evidence has been removed. This included information relating to trace marks on the highway, pedestrian contact marks on vehicles, the final resting position of the vehicles involved, witness interviews, weather, visibility and traffic conditions. 

This information was supplemented with data on injuries sustained (collected from hospital records and coroners) and information provided by those involved in accidents after the event (provided through self-completion questionnaires).

The objective of the study was to investigate accidents, to collect and correlate crash data to improve the understanding of the influences of human involvement, vehicle design and highway design on accident causation and injury mechanisms. Data gathered for OTS are now included in the current RAIDS study database.