Volvo Trucks working to protect cyclists and pedestrians in city traffic

In News, Volvo3 MinutesBy NZ Trucking magazineAugust 13, 2018

Road fatalities from accidents with heavy goods vehicles are decreasing. However, Volvo Truck‘s research shows that the same reduction is not being seen in accidents involving cyclists and pedestrians.

Volvo Trucks has made safety one of its core values during its 90-year history and takes a multi-faceted approach to traffic safety. It extends from traffic safety research, to developing safety technologies for the vehicles, such as Lane Keeping Support and Forward Collision Warning with Emergency Brake, to driver training and designing safer vehicles. Traffic safety awareness programmes such as ‘Stop Look Wave’ and ‘See and be seen’, targeted to children and cyclists, is another important part of the work.

Dozens of major cities worldwide have taken a ‘vision zero‘ approach to traffic injuries. In London the city’s transport authority, Transport for London, aims to have zero serious injuries and fatalities on its roads and that 80 percent of all Londoners‘ trips be made by foot, by cycle or using public transport by 2041.

In order to reach its vision, London is implementing a large number of measures to improve road safety, from cutting speed limits to improving enforcement, as well as redesigning streets and the city’s most dangerous junctions. Transport for London has put reducing road danger at the centre of its decision-making and it is working closely with vulnerable road user groups and vehicle manufacturers, including Volvo Trucks, to find solutions.

One major initiative underway by Transport for London is to develop the world‘s first Direct Vision Standard (DVS) for heavy goods vehicles in the city. Under the draft proposal, all heavy-goods vehicles over 12 tonnes will need to demonstrate high levels of direct vision from the cab, or other equivalent safety measures, to operate in London from 2020.

Ensuring excellent vision from the vehicle is an important part of Volvo Trucks’ safety philosophy. It is especially important when designing vehicles for urban environments.

Trucks operating in cities are also set to get safer through better technology to detect vulnerable road users around the vehicle. In the EU-funded Xcycle project, Volvo Trucks is cooperating with tech companies and research institutes and one of the technologies involves a detection system for cyclists.

“Almost 40 percent of accidents between trucks and cyclist are on the passenger-side of the vehicle. It is the most critical area during a passenger-side turn. In the Xcycle project we want to find out how we can reduce these types of accidents by combining in-vehicle detection systems and the intelligent traffic system in the city using Wi-Fi. Both the truck driver and the cyclist would receive a warning to alert them of hazardous situations,” says Jerome Vigneron, Xcycle project manager at Volvo Trucks.