Work package 3: Human behaviour in relation to system components vehicle-environment

The systems approach to road accidents purports that the errors made by individuals at the sharp end are a consequence of the error-causing or latent conditions residing within the (traffic) system. A well-known systems description in traffic safety literature is the “driver-environment-vehicle” approach where road accidents are considered to be the result of a failure in one or more elements (driver, environment, vehicle) of the road system. Through three projects in this work package we are exploring innovative solutions for each of the three dimensions.

Contact person: dr. Inge Mayeres 

Project 3.1: Human behaviour in the safety system

The objective in this project is to explore parent-offspring relationships with respect to traffic safety. It has been shown that parents are the primary influence for socialization of children and that they continue to have an effect on behaviour throughout life. Positive attitudes, skills and behaviour taught by professional educators (e.g. teachers in school, professional driving educators) might well be reinforced (or offset) if parents do (or do not) show and carry out the correct behaviour themselves. However a positive transfer of attitudes, skills and behaviour is subject to some conditions and does not happen automatically. In this project we will investigate to what extent these conditions are currently met, and how policy makers can take concrete actions to improve the socialization process between parents and their offspring.

Contact person: dr. Kris Brijs 

Project 3.2: Interaction between environmental and the behavioural component

More specifically, it is the objective of this project to gain a deeper insight in crash causation factors based on the (video-based) observation and analysis of traffic conflicts and of normal interactive behaviour on designated parts of the road infrastructure. By using observation techniques instead of classical accident data we can analyse new data types (namely near conflicts and normal interactive behaviour). It also enables to assess the effectiveness of different types of road safety interventions much more quickly compared to the classical approach in which sufficient amounts of accident data (often over several years) need to be collected before any statistically valid conclusions can be drawn.

Contact person: dr. Stijn Daniels 

Project 3.3: Interaction between road user behaviour, vehicle and infrastructure

The project focuses on the interaction between road user behaviour, the vehicle and the infrastructure component in the road safety system. More specifically, the main thread in the project is research into the expected safety impacts of electric bicycles. The project first of all brings together the existing data and knowledge on functional bicycle use and safety and cycling infrastructure in Flanders. This information is complemented by new data, collected via GPS logging and Stated Preference surveys. Based on the empirical analysis of this information, a refined bicycle model is developed to be integrated in a multimodal planning model of Flanders. This should enable the quantitative analysis of the safety impacts of changes in functional bicycle use brought about by changes in bicycle policy and infrastructure, and more widespread use of electric bicycles.

Contact person: dr. Yves De Weerdt 



The Policy Research Centre for Traffic Safety carries out policy relevant scientific research under the authority of the Flemish Government. The Centre is the result of a

cooperation between Hasselt University, KU Leuven and VITO, the Flemish Institute for Technological Research.


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