The contribution of on-road studies of road user behaviour to improving road safety

Michael G. Lenné

Research output: Contribution to journalReview ArticleOtherpeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


For over 40 years transport safety researchers have been using methods of vehicle instrumentation to gain greater insights into the factors that contribute to road user crash risk and the associated crash factors. In the previous decade in particular the widespread availability of lower cost and more advanced methods of vehicle instrumentation and recording technologies are supporting the increasing number of on-road research studies worldwide. The design of these studies ranges from multi-method studies using instrumented test vehicles and defined driving routes, to field operational tests, through to much larger and more naturalistic studies. It is timely to assess the utility of these methods for studying the influences of driver characteristics and states, the design and operation of the road system, and the influences of in-vehicle technologies on behaviour and safety for various road user groups. This special issue considers the extent to which on-road studies using vehicle instrumentation have been used to advance knowledge across these areas of road safety research. The papers included in this issue illustrate how research using instrumented test vehicles continues to generate new knowledge, and how the larger scale United States and European naturalistic and field operational test studies are providing a wealth of data about road user behaviour in real traffic. This is balanced with a number of studies that present methodological developments in data collection and analysis methods that, while promising, need further validation. The use of on-road methods to accurately describe the behaviours occurring in everyday real-world conditions, to quantify risks for safety critical events, and an improved understanding of the factors that contribute to risk, clearly has huge potential to promote further road trauma reductions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)158-161
Number of pages4
JournalAccident Analysis and Prevention
Publication statusPublished - 2013


  • On road studies
  • Road safety
  • Road user behavior
  • Vehicle instrumentation

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