ITS Deployment Evaluation Executive Briefing: ITS for Vulnerable Road Users
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ITS Deployment Evaluation Executive Briefing: ITS for Vulnerable Road Users

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    Vulnerable Road Users (VRUs) are the least physically protected group of road users: unshielded pedestrians, cyclists, and motorcyclists who are at an increased risk of injury and fatality from vehicular accidents. There are two general categories of solutions to ensuring safety of VRUs: addressing risky driving behaviors such as speeding and driving under the influence; and visibility involving a sufficient range of view and clear discernibility [1]. Risky driving behaviors: In 2020, despite a nationwide decrease in driving due to the global Covid-19 pandemic, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimated over 38,500 crash fatalities occurred, the largest number of fatalities on record since 2007. NHTSA’s research showed a significant change in risky driving behaviors during the 2020 lockdown, including speeding, failing to wear seat belts, and driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. While pedestrian fatalities remained relatively stable from 2019 to 2020, risky driving behavior contributed to the increase in motorcyclist and bicyclist fatalities by 9 percent and 5 percent, respectively [2]. Visibility: In the United States, 67 percent of all fatal vehicle-pedestrian collisions occur at night [3]. In 2019, over 70 percent of pedestrian fatalities occurred at night between 6 pm and 6 am; however, 58 percent of pedestrian injuries occurred during the day between 6 am and 6 pm [4]. Street lighting can be a low-cost intervention for cities to improve visibility. Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) solutions have the capability to address these issues by improving situational awareness of vehicle drivers and VRUs. The following research explores how VRU-specific technologies and applications can improve the safety of motorcyclists, pedestrians, and bicyclists as they share the road with trucks, cars, and buses.
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