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Road Safety Strategy: Experts and Driving Data to Detect Risky Road Zones


  • The Expert’s Role in Identifying: Risky Road Zones
  • Adopting a Preventive Approach to Road Safety and Security
  • Prioritize Road Safety Actions thanks to Driving Data Solutions

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A potentially risky road zone is a location where near misses occur and road accidents are waiting to happen. Knowing where and when they happen is invaluable in terms of improving road safety. To detect them, road experts usually provide their in-depth knowledge of roads, turns and intersections. Existing driving data resources are also available, waiting to be leveraged for safer mobility. When you combine expertise and contextualized driving data together, you get actionable insights into how road infrastructure is affecting road safety, helping you make the most valuable and effective decisions for your road safety strategy.

Three data analysts with road safety and driving data in the background.

The Expert’s Role in Identifying: Risky Road Zones

  Any location that has a greater number of near misses and crashes than other comparable locations is considered a risky road zone. Identifying these locations makes it possible for road experts to prioritize the use of resources and measure the effectiveness of actions to increase safer mobility, saving people’s lives.  

The Roadway’s Involvement in Road Accidents

Road accidents result from the combination of driving behavior, timing and road context. Engineers design roads that limit risk, but they are not there to see how drivers perceive, understand and react to road infrastructure. Nor do they see how their behavior changes over time. Factors such as signalization, weather conditions, lack of visibility, state of road repair and poor road markings can all be part of what causes an accident. Understanding aggregated driver behavior is also essential to understanding what makes a road zone risky, and it can, in turn, help engineers design safer roads. The driver is reacting to the combination of timing and road context.  

The Road Expert’s Keen Knowledge

When road accidents occur, a road expert will consult the crash reports as their first source of information. The reports are often not exhaustive in the type of information provided. Without a GPS point or specific time stamp, they only describe an outcome, and lack deeper insights. Those insights are what road experts need in order to provide actionable recommendations. Sometimes visiting the location can help them gain further understanding. Based on their knowledge, assumptions and expertise built up over their career, they will make recommendations to improve that location’s safety. At the same time, they can’t always be certain that these recommendations will fix all of the problems.  

Monitoring Crash Reports to Understand the Impact of Changes

The following step is usually monitoring road crash reports and their statistics over time in an attempt to measure the effect of recommended changes. However, the information they contain is imperfect and only includes reported accidents. Furthermore, the trends take time – months or years – to become visible. They are a passive measurement, providing little insight into the root causes that actually influence driver behavior at a given location. To avoid “waiting and seeing”, shifting to a preventive stance is essential. By identifying potentially risky road zones, they can be prioritized for action before they lead to fatalities. They are promptly addressed, and leverage road engineers’ expert knowledge.    

Adopting a Preventive Approach to Road Safety and Security

Data Science Expertise at Michelin DDI    

The Larger Context of a Road Accident

What if experts had access to the larger context of an accident, both driving conditions and driving behavior? When experts complement crash reports with context, they see the situation in a new light. They see how the time of day or the weather influenced driving behavior so as to cause an accident. Contextual data about risky road zones helps road experts make more precise and data-driven recommendations to improve road safety.   Combining contextual data with driving behavior on the overall network even makes it possible to identify near misses. Addressing near miss zones automatically reduces road accident fatalities. Instead of reacting to accidents, the paradigm shifts to one of prevention.  

Intelligent Driving Data Insights Locate Near Misses

Deciding to work with intelligent driving data and the actionable insights it provides means accidents can be prevented. Instead of trying to understand one driver’s behavior that led to an accident, road experts have access to collective driving behavior. Their driving data shows the potentially risky road zones where near misses occur, and they can understand the context surrounding each near miss. Road experts are able to ascertain where infrastructure might be the cause of these events – or potentially driver behavior. This completely reinvents the approach to road safety. Intelligent driving data insights provide the early signals that can prevent disasters down the road.      

Actionable Mobility Insights

Aggregated driver behavior generates actionable mobility insights and a contextualized understanding across the entire road network. To allocate and prioritize your resources, you can focus on where and why near misses are occurring, and what measures to implement to prevent road accidents. Changes sometimes as simple as adjusting signalization and visibility can solve the problems and save lives.    

Prioritize Road Safety Actions thanks to Driving Data Solutions

Accessible services like those provided by Michelin DDI can analyze road user behavior to pinpoint locations where the behavior is atypical. Integrated into your preferred GIS platform, you automatically visualize where problem areas exist, like a heatmap that shows you where atypical driving behavior is concentrated.   With this information, your risky road zones are ranked according to the degree of danger. You prioritise and allocate resources effectively. Your investment in road safety becomes a focused approach at documented locations and specific problems. You no longer have to wait solely on limited crash reports that could take months or years to arrive. Instead, there is a specific and concrete road safety strategy that focuses on the opportunities for improvement in your road infrastructure.   It goes without saying that your investment becomes an active way of saving lives.
  • Your near misses drop, and therefore your road accidents too, saving lives and closing the gap on Vision Zero.
  • You have the aggregated driving data evidence to monitor your actions and back up all funding decisions with before/after analysis
  • You have measurable KPIs that provide accountability, demonstrate results, and inform future strategy for road safety.
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