New report considers safety implications of driverless cars

21/06/2018
Chris Ames

A new report has examined the relationship between road infrastructure and safety for conventional and increasingly autonomous vehicles and provides a framework for infrastructure safety investment.

The study from the Road Safety Foundation considers the implications of the switch to autonomous vehicles (AVs) working around the assumption that half of car travel in about 30 to 40 years will be driverless.

According to the analysis driverless cars could cut run-off crashes by up to 80% over the next two generations using in-vehicle good lane-keeping control, speed control but only with good signing and road markings. 

These may be the easiest crashes to prevent in cars that can ‘read’ road signs and white lines, but worn out road markings are easily missed by AV detection technology.

This is the third in the Roads that Cars Can Read series, is a joint initiative of EuroRAP, the UK Road Safety Foundation and International Road Assessment Programme (iRAP).

A senior figure in road marking commented that fully autonomous cars on the local road network could be a ‘distant dream’ as they struggle to read worn out road markings.

Commenting on the report, Stu McInroy (pictured), chief executive of the Road Safety Markings Association (RSMA) said: ‘Increasing automation currently relies on clear road line markings and signs that can be reliably detected. But one of the greatest challenges is the UK’s network of underinvested local authority-maintained roads.

‘A fully funded road marking programme is pivotal to successful implementation of these vehicles. With more than 200 local authorities – each with different pressures and squeezed budgets – fully autonomous cars on anything but strategic roads looks like a distant dream.’

He added: ‘Monitoring and maintaining road markings is a vital part of well managed roads. Only when we have roads that cars can read, reliably, can we truly have a high level of vehicle autonomy.’

The report says that infrastructure maintenance will be a key factor in the AV transition phase. It will also become a higher-priority obligation for road authorities as driver liability will decrease, and the liability of road authorities and vehicle manufacturers is likely to rise.

The RSMA will be located in the Partners' Lounge at Traffex Seeing Is Believing in Bruntingthorpe, Leicestershire on 27 and 28 June, where copies of the report will be available.

An interview with Mr McInroy appears in the June issue of Highways magazine.

Highways jobs

Transport Development Control Team Leader

Oxfordshire County Council
£48,551 - £55,374
We need visionary Team Leaders to help our people meet their targets. Oxford, Oxfordshire
Recuriter: Oxfordshire County Council

Programme Manager Central

Oxfordshire County Council
£37,107 - £43,757
We’re on a mission to enhance Oxfordshire – and with you by our side, that vision just became a reality. Oxford, Oxfordshire
Recuriter: Oxfordshire County Council

Infrastructure Locality Lead

Oxfordshire County Council
£48,551 - £55,374
We need visionary Team Leaders to help our people meet their targets. Oxford, Oxfordshire
Recuriter: Oxfordshire County Council

Growth & Place Special Projects Officers

Oxfordshire County Council
£48,551 - £55,374
Join us in a large-scale role that will span several years, and play a vital part in supporting major infrastructure schemes. Oxford, Oxfordshire
Recuriter: Oxfordshire County Council

Site Inspectors

Oxfordshire County Council
£29,909- £36,153
You will provide specialist technical support to some of the most imaginative transport and town planning challenges imaginable. Oxford, Oxfordshire
Recuriter: Oxfordshire County Council

Planning Obligations Team Member

Oxfordshire County Council
£21,074 - £29,055
You will witness first-hand the exciting developments currently taking place in Oxfordshire Oxford, Oxfordshire
Recuriter: Oxfordshire County Council

Planning Obligations Manager

Oxfordshire County Council
£37,107 - £47,575
Committed to supporting growth across the county, you will ensure financial contributions are being actively and efficiently managed. Oxford, Oxfordshire
Recuriter: Oxfordshire County Council

Assistant Planners (Transport & General)

Oxfordshire County Council
£21,074 - £29,055
You will witness first-hand the exciting developments currently taking place in Oxfordshire. Oxford, Oxfordshire
Recuriter: Oxfordshire County Council

Planners (Transport & General)

Oxfordshire County Council
£29,909 - £36,153
You will provide specialist technical support to some of the most imaginative transport and town planning challenges imaginable. Oxford
Recuriter: Oxfordshire County Council

High Speed 2 (HS2) Community Liaison Advisor

East Midlands Shared Services
£31,464
Leicestershire County Council is looking for someone to support our proactive approach to HS2 Phase 2b for Leicestershire Leicestershire
Recuriter: East Midlands Shared Services

High Speed 2 (HS2) Project Manager

East Midlands Shared Services
£39,903
Leicestershire County Council is looking for someone to manage a proactive approach to HS2 Phase 2b for Leicestershire. Leicestershire
Recuriter: East Midlands Shared Services

High Speed 2 (HS2) Programme Lead

East Midlands Shared Services
£59,652
Leicestershire County Council is looking for someone to lead a proactive approach to HS2 Phase 2b for Leicestershire. Leicestershire
Recuriter: East Midlands Shared Services

Lincolnshire Waste Partnership Programme Delivery Manager

Lincolnshire County Council
£38,052 - £42,806
The Lincolnshire Waste Partnership (LWP) is seeking a committed and enthusiastic Programme Delivery Manager Lincolnshire
Recuriter: Lincolnshire County Council

Head of Customs

St Helena
£55k pa, taxable in St Helena; a tax free International Supplement will also apply
Could you lead the HMCE team to efficiently implement the Customs & Excise Ordinance in border protection Saint Helena (SH)
Recuriter: St Helena

Highways Maintenance Manager

Plymouth City Council
£37,107 to £41,846
We are looking for a dynamic Highways Manager to lead and co-ordinate all our maintenance activities Plymouth, Devon
Recuriter: Plymouth City Council

Neighbourhood Services Operations Manager

East Lindsey District Council
£30,756 - £35,229 per annum (Grade 7)
This is an exciting opportunity to oversee the delivery of the cleansing and grounds maintenance function in one of the largest Districts of the UK Manby, Louth
Recuriter: East Lindsey District Council

Assistant Highways Officer (North & South Kesteven)

Lincolnshire County Council
£19,819 - £22,401
Lincolnshire County Council is looking to recruit an Assistant Highways Officer to support the Local Highways Management Team Lincolnshire
Recuriter: Lincolnshire County Council

Chief Executive

Sutton London Borough Council
Competitive Salary
We believe that such important agendas require exemplary leadership. Sutton, London (Greater)
Recuriter: Sutton London Borough Council

Project Engineers

North Yorkshire County Council
£24,313 to £34,788, dependent upon experience.
We are looking for Project Engineers to join our Highways and Transportation service based across North Yorkshire. North Yorkshire
Recuriter: North Yorkshire County Council

Improvement/Maintenance Managers

North Yorkshire County Council
Up to £49,003, including winter working allowances
Are you an experienced professional looking for a management opportunity? North Yorkshire
Recuriter: North Yorkshire County Council

Download your Highways App

Google App Apple App

Highways on Fridays

Latest Issue

latest magazine issue

Including:

  • Highways heroes
  • Highways Awards results
  • Traffex Road Expo Scotland show guide
View the latest issue

Latest Video