School staff

Professor Pete Thomas

Photo of Professor Pete Thomas

Prof. of Road & Vehicle Safety

Pete Thomas is the Professor of Road and Vehicle Safety at Loughborough University where there is a team of over 20 people who conduct research to develop new road and vehicle safety measures and to evaluate the performance in the real-world. He joined Loughborough University in 1982 in order to establish what was then the Accident Research Unit. The group expanded to become a team of over 30 people before being disbanded in 2014.The Team was awarded the prestigious Queens Anniversary Prize in 2007 for its work and in 2013 it received the Prince Michael of Kent International Road Safety Award for its work on the European Road Safety Observatory.

Pete is a leading figure in the development of road and vehicle safety policy resources and has led the establishment of the European Road Safety Observatory. He has advised the European Commission on its Road Safety Policy Orientations to 2020 and has co-ordinated several large research projects to gather and analyse accident and safety data which together had a value of around €20 m.

Most recently Pete’s team has been conducting new research into the safety behaviours of drivers and other road users. New experimental methods are being used to unobtrusively observe the actions and responses of drivers under normal driving conditions. These methods are being used to develop real-time coaching resources that drivers can use to examine their driving behaviour and to identify ways to make improvements.

Pete is a specialist in the area of accident and injury causation, publishing over 150 research papers on a broad range of vehicle safety issues, including active safety systems, injury biomechanics and causation, crash test procedures and accident data analysis. His particular areas of interest include research into an evidenced-based procedure to characterise effective intelligent transport systems for optimum casualty reduction and the application of new technologies in accident research to simulate driver behaviour and improve pre-crash sensing capabilities.

Since 2013 Pete’s responsibilities have broadened to include the area of autonomous vehicles and intelligent mobility, of which new safety technologies form a part. The research field includes human-machine interface evaluations, monitoring and outcomes assessment of ITS and systems integration of vehicle and infrastructure technologies. He is closely involved in the development and evaluation of automated driving systems and he is the academic lead of Loughborough University’s partnership with the Transport Systems Catapult.

Research Group: Transport Safety Research Centre.

Pete has led many research projects and participated in many more, typically projects are conducted on behalf of government or industry and key groups include the European Commission, UK Department for Transport and Thatcham Research.

Current projects

SafetyCube (

Pete is the Co-ordinator of the SafetyCube project which is a research project funded by the European Commission under the Horizons 2020, the EU Framework Programme for Research and Innovation, in the domain of Road Safety. The project started on May 1st, 2015 and will run for a period of three years.

The primary objective of the SafetyCube project is to develop an innovative road safety Decision Support System (DSS) that will enable policy-makers and stakeholders to select and implement the most appropriate strategies, measures and cost-effective approaches to reduce casualties of all road user types and all severities in Europe and worldwide.


Pete is the Co-ordinator of the SaferWheels project which is a study funded by DG-MOVE of the European Commission to support future policymaking in the area of the safety of motorcycle riders and cyclists. The project has a total budget of €1 million and involves six partners from five countries.

The purpose of the project is to investigate the causes of 500 motorcycle and cyclist collisions and improve road safety at European level.

Collaboration with the Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi, India

Pete currently has funding from the British Council to support research collaboration between Loughborough University and eth Indian Institute of Technology in Delhi in the area of road safety. The funding enables staff and post-graduate students to visit the other institution to build new research collaborations, share knowledge and develop new research projects.

Past research projects

DaCoTA (

Pete was the coordinator of the DaCoTA (Road safety data coordination, transfer and analysis), a project funded under the Seventh European Framework research programme. With a €7 million budget the project objectives were to enhance the European Road Safety Observatory which has since been incorporated within the DG-MOVE website. The project involved 18 partners from 11 countries and was conducted between 2010 and 2012.


Pete was the Co-ordinator of the SafetyNet research project which ran from 2004 – 2008 and was funded under the Sixth European Framework Research programme. The project had a total budget of €13 million and involved 22 partners. The objective of the project was to establish the European Road Safety Observatory as a data resource to support all aspect s of national and international road safety policy-making.

The results of the SafetyNet and DaCoTA projects can be reviewed at the Road Safety Knowledge System ( which includes the most up to date information and data about key road safety issues.

  • Fildes B, Keall M, Thomas P, Parkarri K, Pennisi L, Tingvall C, Evaluation of the Benefits of Vehicle Safety Technology: The MUNDS Study, Journal Accident Analysis and Prevention, Volume 55, Pp. 274-281, Publication date 01 Jun 2013, DOI 10.1016/j.aap.2013.02.027

  • Thomas P, Talbot R, Morris AP, Fagerlind H, Identifying the causes of road crashes in Europe, Journal of the Association for Automotive Medicine, Volume 57, Pp. 1, Publication date 22 Sep 2013

  • Thomas P, Developments in the Risk of Crash Involvement and Injury to Car Occupants by Model Year Using Vehicle Specific Exposure Data, Conference International Research Council for the Biomechanics of Injury (IRCOBI), Conference start date 11 Sep 2013, Pp. 1-12, Publication date 11 Sep 2013

  • Thomas PD, Chambers-Smith D, Morris A, SafetyNet Final Activity Report, Publication date Jun 2008, Publisher SafetyNet Project Report, Place of publication Brussels, Belgium

  • Thomas, P. A Review of ITS and their Safety Benefits, ETSC Best in Europe Conference, February 2006

  • Morris, A.P., Welsh, R., Thomas, P., Kirk, A. Head and chest injury outcomes in struck-side crashes, International Research Council on Biomechanics of Impact, Prague, September 2006

  • Barnes, J, Thomas, P., Long-term Health Indicators following traffic accident injury, Proceedings of 47th Annual Conference of Association for the Advancement of Automotive Medicine, Key Biscayne, US, September, 2004