Traffic safety has traditionally been centred around diminishing the effects of accidents, or to help drivers prevent that a dangerous situation turns into an accident. Much less effort has been devoted to prevent dangerous situations from occurring in the first place. This is the basis for MeBeSafe.
MeBeSafe is an EU-project aiming ot make traffic safer by soft mean - nudging and coaching. Nudging was invented by Thaler and Sunstein, and is exactly what it sounds like - a gentle push in the right direction. A speed camera or a police control is a "smack", a speed limit sign is information, but putting a kid's tricycle on the roadside is nudging. They all have the same aim, to reduce speed, but do so from wholly different perspectives. Nudging means no prohibitions or demands, and traditionally only affect people on a subconscious level. A nudge makes it more likely that you make a decision that is better for you or the earth, but you can still refrain from doing so if you really want.
MeBeSafe is developing various types of nudges to change road user behaviour and gain a safer traffic. Speed and attention are two cornerstones, and the project aims to affect both car drivers, bicyclists and truck drivers. A main focus is the intersections where cars and bicycles meet; where both car drivers and cyclists will be nudged to safer behaviour.
Humans are traditionally very used to move around in traffic, and our behaviour comes to a large extent from automatic responses. Automated decisions are not dangerous on their own, they instead make it easier to make all the decisions necessary to move around in traffic. But automated decisions are the reasons why many safety systems of today do not work, as they try to communicate with the conscious part of the brain. Subconscious nudging is much more connected to the automatic part of the brain, and may therefore have a larger potential to work.
Chalmers is primarily focused on developing nudges for bicyclists, to reduce the amount of accidents in a way both working and accepted by the cyclists.
Read more about MeBeSafe on http://www.mebesafe.eu, or follow the project on Twitter (@MeBeSafe), Facebook, Instagram, ResearchGate or LinkedIn.
- Cranfield University (Academic, United Kingdom)
- University of Florence (Academic, Italy)
- Shell Global Solutions International (Private, Netherlands)
- Kompetenzzentrum, das Virtuelle Fahrzeug, Forschungsgesellschaft (Private, Austria)
- Volvo Cars (Private, Sweden)
- Institute for Road Safety Research (SWOV) (Research Institute, Netherlands)
- Offis (Private, Germany)
- Heijmans Wegen BV (Private, Netherlands)
- Fiat Group Automobiles SPA (Private, Italy)
- Netherlands Organisation for Applied Scientific Research (TNO) (Private, Netherlands)
- BMW (Private, Germany)
- Institute for Automotive Engineering (ika) (Research Institute, Germany)
- Cygnify BV (Private, Netherlands)
- RWTH Aachen University (Academic, Germany)
- Verkehrsunfallforschung an der tu Dresden GMBH (Private, Germany)