RoadTrace, Improving Road Safety Through Connected Vehicle Insights

RoadTrace, Improving Road Safety Through Connected Vehicle Insights

The world is changing rapidly and technologies that we might think are ‘further down the road,’ can already assist highway engineering. There are millions of connected vehicles on the world’s roads, transmitting data from many sophisticated sensors. This means there is a vast new resource of quantitative data to allow highway engineers to better understand how drivers interact with our roads.

Data everywhere

But with vehicles transmitting continuously, how can we make sense of it? Could we use it to inform our asset management programmes? Could this help in road safety, to identify not only accident black spots, but high-risk areas where a serious crash has not yet occurred? Could this be the tool we need to make a step change in our quest for Vision Zero?

Insights vs Data

Many roads professionals have said ‘don’t bury us in data if it can’t be interpreted.’

Aisin, the Tier 1 global automotive supplier, has been working on this challenge, to take data from the widest range of vehicles and not only analyse it, but also interpret it to provide insights into specific highway maintenance and road safety issues.

Safety Insights

One of the challenges of casualty reduction is that we are usually working retrospectively. A cluster of KSI (Killed or Seriously Injured) crashes will attract the attention of safety engineers. However, to improve outcomes, could we analyse near misses, to understand where serious crashes are likely to occur and intervene in advance? This is the aviation approach.

Insights from connected vehicles, combined with contextual data, can tell us not only how the vehicles interact with our road surfaces, but also the collective behaviour of drivers. Individual driver behaviour is not of interest (all data is anonymised). But why have clusters of drivers repeatedly braked so sharply in location A? At Location B, what is causing road users to decelerate hard from 68mph to 27mph on average, but only at night? What we believe we are seeing, for the first time, are near miss incidents.

The future is here

Aisin are ‘data agnostic,’ recognising that data from only one vehicle manufacturer could skew the results or provide insufficient numbers for statistical significance. Therefore, data is drawn from the widest possible range of vehicles.

Highway operators already have systems to help them manage their networks, so RoadTrace can be integrated, as an additional level of intelligence, within existing highways systems.

Asset Management

Many highway operators use asset management to optimise the performance of their networks, but with bespoke surveys only conducted once a year or less, we may not have sufficient data for decision-making.

It is possible that we intervene too soon on a road surface that might have significant service life remaining. We might act on one road perceived as high risk, but if more detailed road user data could show that the actual risk in that area was low, we might carry out a watching brief on that section, to monitor deterioration, both regularly and remotely.

It is not envisaged that we would stop doing the testing that we rely upon to manage our networks, but now we can add a greater level of detail to what we already know.

Scheme review

When we undertook an improvement scheme on the network, did it do what we intended? Did that junction improvement actually reduce the risk of a crash? Aisin has historical data and collection is ongoing. So, as we implement a scheme, we can analyse the performance before and after. Whether and improvement can be considered effective, much depends on whether it works as intended.


Insights from Connected Vehicles provide highway operators and engineers with a new opportunity to make better informed decisions, based on quantitative data, both in asset management and road safety. The technology is new, but already available across Europe, in the UK and the USA. It can be used to analyse an entire network or a specific area, and can provide both historical insights and ongoing monitoring, without putting any vehicles on the road or boots on the ground. Combined with traditional asset management and road assessment techniques, this is a powerful innovative approach to improve road performance and reduce casualties.

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