Safety in an evolving road mobility environment

Specific Challenge:

The road mobility environment – the area which covers both road transport users and those affected by them – is evolving. Vehicle types are beginning to change as a result of increasing levels of automation. New vehicle types and new types of road user will operate with conventional vehicles and road users as part of an evolving mixed traffic environment. Vulnerable road users are still a continued concern, and in the increasingly connected transport system “vulnerability” may in the future also be more related to the non-connected users and people unable to fully use the potential of the Information and Communications Technologies (ICT) services offered to mobility. Automated vehicles may enable occupants to be placed out of the traditional seating position (e.g. face to face or in lounge/office environments) while undertaking new activities, thus making them more vulnerable in normal traffic.

(Active and passive) safety systems will need to adapt to the future types of the potential collisions, occupant positioning taking into account possible differences between men and women and vulnerable road users of the future, and address the need to reduce minor and major injuries, as well as fatalities.


The scope is to assure the development of robust solutions in the context of the changing environment, leading to dramatic improvements in transport users’ and road workers’ safety. In order to be properly addressed, traffic safety needs to be articulated in terms that are relevant for the connected and automated transport system.

To respond to the challenges proposals should address the following:

  • Define road safety characteristics and properties as conditions and constraints in a traffic system (including road workers) which is undergoing increasing automation and is highly dependent on software, positioning/navigation systems and connectivity. The concept of vulnerability should be given appropriate consideration and be viewed in the evolutionary context of the mobility system also addressing “automotive digital divides”, e.g. between urban and rural areas. Future traffic changes and new traffic scenarios will need to be considered taking into account aspects such as severe weather conditions, poor road conditions. Updated ways to assess accident risks should be developed and also take into account injuries causing longer-term disability. A reduction of at least 10% (compared with 2016 figures) for road traffic casualties (fatalities, injuries and incidents -where known) should be demonstrated for the solutions developed within the chosen theme(s) below.

In addition at least one of the following themes should be addressed:

  • Development of tools and models which simulate how traffic scenarios are expected to change over time with the introduction of new vehicle types and new safety technologies for all road users. Human Body Models may need to be further developed to represent future collision scenarios (including pre-crash and near-crash behaviour) taking into account all road users. (such as gender, percentile, age, obesity, etc). Open source approaches are encouraged.
  • Design of (active/passive) protection systems for future collision scenarios as well as for occupants’ variable body postures and different human body types in future interior concepts. These systems may require the further development of occupant monitoring functions and can make use of the sophisticated sensor systems which will be fitted to automated vehicles.
  • Development of (physical and/or digital) infrastructure and on-vehicle safety solutions as well as education and training schemes for all road users which match the pace of the increased implementation of automated driving functions.

The cultural diversity of road users should be considered, as well as age, gender and IT-experience.

In line with the Union’s strategy for international cooperation in research and innovation international cooperation is encouraged.

The Commission considers that proposals requesting a contribution from the EU between EUR 4 and 8 million would allow this specific challenge to be addressed appropriately. Nonetheless, this does not preclude submission and selection of proposals requesting other amounts.

Expected Impact:

A reduction of at least a 10% (with respect to 2016 figures) in injuries and fatalities in road accidents, contributing to the ambitions of the Transport White Paper’s goal to reach close to zero road fatalities by 2050. Contribution to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), in particular goal 3.6 (“By 2020, halve the number of global deaths and injuries from road traffic accidents”) and SDG 11 (“Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable”).

Innovative optimum protection systems enabling the occupants of automated vehicles to assume new seating positions and leverage the perceived benefits of automation. Solutions will contribute to industry competitiveness and EU leadership in road safety.

Harmonised and relevant methods for the assessment of safety solutions in both real-world conditions and in future mobility scenarios, e.g. based on virtual simulations with validated models and/or based on experimental results.

Safer use of vehicles, effective education and training schemes and increased awareness of all road users in the evolving road mobility environment.

Types of action: RIA Research and Innovation action
Planned opening date:
05 September 2018
2nd stage Deadline:
16 January 2019
12 September 2019

Source: Horizon 2020 – The European Commission