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Road Safety Strategy: 3 Major Transportation Innovations


  • Transport Innovation #1: Connected Vehicle Technologies
  • Transportation Innovation #2: Smart Road Technologies and Intelligent Transportation Systems
  • Transportation Innovation #3: New Driving Data Intelligence

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Innovation for road safety is strong, and includes connected cars, connected roads and data intelligence. For a DOT, the most effective and operational road safety innovations are not necessarily the most spectacular. Behind the showboating, there are also more accessible, concrete revolutions. Here is a roundup of some of the latest road safety innovations, and which of them offers the most reliable and promising immediate difference to enhancing road safety.

Transport Innovation #1: Connected Vehicle Technologies

Connected Vehicle Technologies: Deliver improved Road Safety From merely connected to fully autonomous, new-generation vehicles aim to deliver improved road safety, better traffic management, reduced emissions and travel costs, and more comfort. Regardless of the technology used, achieving those goals requires investment in infrastructure and manufacturing technologies, and is still years away from becoming mainstream. Yet, pilot programs are currently being run to test feasibility and results.  

Vehicles Connected to Pedestrians, other Vehicles and Infrastructure

Brimming with a network of technologies, a connected vehicle is able to exchange and handle an enormous amount of data. Information travels both ways, between the vehicle to pedestrians (V2P), other vehicles (V2V) and infrastructure (V2I). Speed, congestion, road conditions, roadworks, accidents and parking information help drivers adjust their speed and route.  

Algorithms for Autonomous Vehicles

Beyond connectivity, driverless cars vehicles also include algorithms that help them predict, plan and control their movement to navigate safely by themselves within their surroundings.  

Examples in New York City and Las Vegas

New York City has deployed a connected vehicle pilot program in three areas in Manhattan and Brooklyn. Large fleets of city and commercial vehicles are connected, to measure how effectively they reduce traffic fatalities. As of 2023 in Las Vegas, Lyft users will be able to hail an autonomous ride.    

Requirements and Feasibility?

Cellular, cloud or WiFi networks are necessary for connected and autonomous vehicles to operate in. To address a DOT’s road safety concerns, road maintenance and upgrade programs need to plan now and implement complex networks in order to be ready for the connected and autonomous vehicles that will be available in the future. It is exciting to think of streets that communicate directly with us and vehicles that conduct themselves intelligently through a multitude of variables. However, it will be some time before connected and autonomous vehicle technology becomes the norm.The road safety they promise is still years away.      

Transportation Innovation #2: Smart Road Technologies and Intelligent Transportation Systems


A futuristic looking roadway illustrates the concept of smart roads technologies.

    Ideas and trials abound in this domain. Time will tell which are the most effective and valuable with a market price that ensures long term impact on road safety. Here are a few innovations that are being tested.    

Traffic Lights

  • Camera Data in Hamburg
Two cameras are being tested to provide data to traffic lights at one of Hamburg’s busiest intersections. The lights adjust their phases to favor pedestrian and cyclist crossings. For example, green lights are longer during peak circulation so that more of these road users cross the road safely.  
  • Algorithms in London
The city currently uses magnetic detectors embedded in roads that adjust traffic light timing as vehicles are detected. They are moving to new technology that collects data from pedestrians, cyclists and goods transportation as well. The new algorithm adjusts green signals based on all data received – not just cars – so that, for example, pedestrians can cross sooner, or cyclists have a longer green light at certain times of the day. The system is being tested in one location before being rolled out across the city.      

Smart Pavement

  • Solar Road Paint in the Netherlands
In the Netherlands, a company has developed solar road paint that collects energy during the day and then glows for up to eight hours at night. The paint has been used both on roads and on one bike path. By increasing visibility, road safety is also improved.  
  • Connected Roads in Colorado
Colorado has been testing smart pavement since 2018. Precast concrete slabs are fitted with fiber optic sensors. They can identify road conditions and vehicles in real time, and are even capable of detecting accidents and notifying emergency services.      

Requirements and Feasibility?

Each of these innovations requires investing in changing infrastructure to roll out on a large scale. Realistically, it is unlikely that DOTs will invest in transforming all roads everywhere to these new technologies. The sheer magnitude of existing infrastructure makes it a tough task for local governments. What is more likely is that innovations like these will be used in areas that are already known to be part of the “High Injury Network”. In terms of road safety, they do not necessarily provide any new information that can help prevent road accidents. And it is only by preventing accidents that road safety is improved.      

Transportation Innovation #3: New Driving Data Intelligence

Data is superimposed with a busy highway to illustrate driving data intelligence.

    Driving data requires no investment in infrastructure. It already exists. When it is captured, analyzed and transformed into aggregated and contextualized driver behavior, it reveals actionable insights in terms of how to improve roads and therefore road safety.    

Aggregating and Analyzing all Driving Data

With driving data, it’s possible to identify where there are near misses and potentially risky road zones. Contextualizing the data goes even further in terms of understanding what is at play:
  • Road segments where harsh braking occurs at night and not during the day
  • An intersection where hard acceleration takes place at specific times
  • A turn that becomes dangerous in wet road conditions
  • Distracted driving along a busy turnpike coming into an urban area

Data-Driven Insights

Understanding this driving behavior as a result of intelligent driving data results in actionable insights that can produce immediate results for road safety. For each of the examples above:
  • Adding more light to improve night-time visibility
  • Adjusting traffic light cycles to smooth out traffic
  • Improved signalization to reduce speed
  • Better directions to locations the turnpike serves

Requirements and Feasibility?

We saw above that autonomous and connected cars won’t be here for a few years yet. And that changing infrastructure is a long and costly undertaking, that most likely will only take place on a limited scale. Driving behavior data, on the other hand, has three main advantages:
  • No infrastructure changes are involved
  • Driving behavior data provides exhaustive coverage of any given area
  • Driving data can be leveraged immediately and at a reasonable cost.
    Michelin DDI offers a wide catalog of different services that load directly into your GIS and can provide significant intelligence about driver behavior – thanks to near miss detection – risky zones and areas of concern along your roads. You get actionable insights that help you prioritize and make the most effective decisions to improve road safety. This is definitely one of the most accessible and actionable innovations available. Leverage Mobility Data with Michelin experts ! Contact us