Improving the Safety of Interactions Between Vulnerable Road Users and Automated Vehicles: A Collaborative Investigation

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National Surface Transportation Safety Center for Excellence


This report documents a collaboration between researchers at the Pedestrian Bicycle Information Center at the University of North Carolina’s Highway Safety Research Center and the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute to advance bicycle and pedestrian safety. Efforts focused on (1) exploring and discussing ways to make vulnerable road users (VRUs) safer around existing vehicles with automation; (2) broadening the dialogue surrounding automation and VRU safety to incorporate underrepresented but necessary voices, such as those from advocacy communities; and (3) laying the groundwork to ensure that future automated vehicle (AV) systems, including transitional and fully automated vehicles, are designed with VRU safety as a priority. The collaboration produced a white paper detailing the current state of AV and pedestrian interaction, organized breakout sessions at annual meetings of the Automated Vehicle Symposium, published the results of those sessions, and hosted outreach activities such as webinars and an invited lecture.



transportation safety, pedestrians, bicyclists, vulnerable road users