These developments mean that cars with automated driving functions, increasingly assisting human drivers, are now a reality – the relationship between human, vehicle, and road is fundamentally changing. Ultimately, smart vehicles can make traffic safer, more efficient, and sustainable. At Royal HaskoningDHV, our role is to leverage those benefits and shape the mobility system of tomorrow, all while mitigating risks and ensuring safe deployment. 

An integrated approach to using human centred technology

At Royal HaskoningDHV, we enhance road safety long-term by adopting an integrated systems approach with human-centred technology. Central to achieving this is a three-pronged approach – combining trust and acceptance, network and road design, and control and information systems.

One example of our work is ensuring that road infrastructure, both physical (road design, construction and maintenance) and digital (traffic systems, ICT), keeps pace and adapts to the ever-growing speed of new technology roll out, such as Advanced Driver Assist Systems (ADAS), and cooperative and connected vehicles. ADAS applications – mandatory from 2022 in new models of passenger cars – can directly and indirectly influence a number of operational driving tasks, such as speed, course, braking in emergency situations, recognising traffic signs, and monitoring blind spots. All this increases road safety, traffic flow, and user comfort, while limiting harmful emissions. However, if information from infrastructure or the surroundings are not properly processed or is used incorrectly by the ADAS application, there is a risk of long-lasting, negative, and potentially fatal consequences.

In recent years, there has also been a rapid increase in communication between vehicles and roadside systems (cooperative and connected vehicles). When harnessed properly, this technology, that enables vehicles to communicate, anticipate and work together, allows us to use the road network in a more efficient, safer, and environmentally friendly way. 

Our three-pronged solution for safer road networks 

It’s clear that mobility of the future requires an increasing level of customisation – a sophisticated balance between the individual needs of end users, and the collective ambitions for quality of life, safety, and climate. Future mobility also needs to consider current government planning and fit in with long-term and practical solutions for today's issues.

By working closely with national governments and the wider car industry, we can apply a strategic lens, combined with our in-depth domain knowledge in the transport field, and augmented by the latest cutting-edge technology. The result? Enabling our clients to drive forward a people-centred and collaborative approach to future vehicle networks. Plus, we get a clear view on short- and long-term actions, continuously interacting with important stakeholders in the infrastructure, automotive, and human factors domains.

Only through this collaborative approach, with technology at the forefront and people at the centre, can we enhance road safety, increase liveability, provide better access to public space, and accelerate the impact and introduction of smart vehicles now and in the future.

Ensuring successful and safe deployment 

Thanks to years of expert study, analysis, and practice, we are now charting new frontiers with solutions linked to road safety and intelligent vehicles.

National Platoon Test

In the Netherlands, we organised the National Platoon Test in close collaboration with Aon Risk Solutions, Business Lease, and ProDrive Training, in which 56 semi-autonomous vehicles were driven on the A2 highway in platoons. The results found that highly autonomous vehicles contribute to safe, smooth, sustainable, and comfortable traffic, and will help ensure the right choices are made when rolling out driving task support systems. 

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ADAS performance

In September 2021, we were commissioned by the Dutch National Traffic Management Board (LVMB) to research the need for action and changes relating to guidelines, infrastructure, and cooperation between road authorities, the car industry and other important stakeholders for optimised ADAS performance. The objective was to identify measures to support the safe use of ADAS, while ensuring traffic safety for all drivers. 

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Who is in control?

In 2019, a report titled ‘Who is in control? Road safety and automation in road traffic’  was published by Dutch Safety Board (DSB) – it featured conclusions and policy recommendations for promoting the safe use of ADAS. As part of the report, we provided DSB with some of our research findings across multiple in-depth studies, helping outline proposals and suggestions for the future.  

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Smart motorways in the UK

In March 2021, our Transport Team conducted an extensive motorway report into driver safety on All Lane Running motorways (ALR) in the UK. Findings showed that the risk of being involved in a live lane breakdown on an ALR in England is 216% higher than on a standard motorway. Our report provided transport authorities in the UK with an opportunity to revisit the role of smart motorways to better improve road safety.  

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Safe roads for all

We collaboratively produced a ‘Safe Roads for All’ report with leading road safety and mobility experts and organisations throughout the UK. It proposes a government leadership structure, headline safety performance framework, and priority actions that will progress the UK towards fewer deaths from road crashes.

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Get in touch today

By taking a long-term, integrated, and collaborative view, we can better support and enable the successful and safe development of automated vehicles. The result? Enhanced road safety, a seamless flow of traffic, and greener, cleaner cities.

If you’d like to find out more, get in touch today.