Measures for Behaving Safely in Traffic

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MeBeSafe is a H2020 RIA project, granted by the European Commission and coordinated by the Institute for Automotive Engineering (ika). The consortium is comprised of a total of 15 partners including automotive OEMs and suppliers, road infrastructure and fleet owners, SMEs and leading organizations in traffic safety research and modeling. The project has a strong focus on human factors in transportation involving vulnerable road users (VRU) to tackle “human errors” as one of the main causes for accidents in road transportation.

Most current measures to increase safety in road transportation intend to make traffic users to behave safer by appealing to the deliberate self (awareness campaigns, speed signs), act autonomously on the users’ behalf (autonomous braking, traffic lights), or seek to “assist” users by presenting feedback/information (Forward Collision Warning, roadside speed displays). However, the latter category of measures is often not effective as users either switch them off or do not act on the information provided.

By addressing “human errors”, the project MeBeSafe is based on the idea that human behavior neither requires elaborate, conscious decision-making, nor purely automatic/reflexive actions. Hence, the project takes another approach by aiming at changing habitual traffic behavior directly using nudging. A concept adapted from behavioral economics that relates to subconsciously pushing humans in a desired direction without being prohibitive against alternative choices of action. Predisposing humans to making a desired choice makes nudging measures less invasive and - as a strong benefit - applicable early in a given chain of events that might lead to a critical/accident-prone situation.

Within MeBeSafe the consortium aims at researching, planning as well as implementing several nudging measures in different facets of road transportation and to increase safety measurably. The project will implement nudging measures for road infrastructure (i.e. through adaptive in-road surface displays), in-vehicle ADAS and remotely applied measures like coaching. Led by ika the work package infrastructure nudging will prospectively analyze the effectiveness of selected measures via controlled experiments in a driving simulator, on a test track and finally on a highway examining real life situations.

The EC has selected MeBeSafe for twinning actions with compatible projects in the United States of America i.e. funded by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA).