Speed control by improving road legibility – Self-explaining road concepts

It is generally accepted that human error is involved in a good many road accidents. Although education, awareness and enforcement are important tools in reducing the number of accidents, it is equally crucial that the road environment and the vehicle should be adapted to the limitations of human abilities.

The key question is how design principles can reduce the chance of error in performing the driving task. As stated by Theeuwes and Godthelp (1995) [Theeuwes, J., Godthelp, H. (1995).  Self-explaining roads.  Safety Science 19 (1995) – pp. 217-225], two aspects play an important part: the intrinsic safety level of the road and the road’s own capability of making users understand how to drive on it.

The first concept, intrinsic safety, refers to a reduction in potentially hazardous situations. These are created for example by a road in poor condition, a mixture of several transport modes under inadequate conditions, the presence of dangerous roadside obstacles, etc.

The second relates to the “self-explaining” properties of the road, giving rise to the principle known as “self-explaining road”. In this approach the road should be designed such that its characteristics and layout agree with the perspective expectations of the road users. The “self-explaining road” principle implies among other things that the driving environment can suggest cautious behaviour merely by its design parameters. It is based on the idea that perception, expectations, human behaviour and road safety are clearly correlated.

In this respect BRRC participated in the projet SPACE – Speed Adaption Control by Self Explaining Roads.

 

Document

X. COCU,
La route qui s'explique – «Self-explaining road»,
Etats Généraux de la Sécurité Routière – Séminaire Infrastructure routière - Namur, 15/06/2012

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