Safe and attractive cities of the future: Urban design for safe interactions between road users and automated vehicles


In the near future, the so called vulnerable road users, cyclists, pedestrians and mopeds, will have to share the public space and interact with vehicles at different levels of automation. The various levels of automation all have different needs and implications. It is important to identify how the general public will interact in different traffic situations with automated vehicles to be able to predict how automated vehicles are going to affect traffic safety. The main goal is to understand the interactions between different road users and automated vehicles in different design variants of the urban public space, and to evaluate the implications on safety, quality of life, and on the attractiveness of cities.

Scientific challenges

The scientific challenges of this research project are the following. Firstly, there is not much empirical literature about the interactions between vulnerable road users and automated vehicles. Thus, more explorative research is needed to understand which variables are the most important. Secondly, the automated vehicles industry is developing rapidly which makes it challenging to study the interactions. New features keep being developed for automated vehicles that affect the interactions with vulnerable road users. Thirdly, to come up with such a strong experimental design that the results can be validated and used in other situations. Finally, to produce recommendations that can be used effectively by municipalities to be ready for automated vehicles and all their implications.

Societal relevance

This research project focuses on understanding the interactions between vulnerable road users and automated vehicles to identify how urban design can improve these interactions. This study will profit from knowledge co-creation and exchange with the municipalities of Rotterdam, the Hague and Amsterdam, and SWOV. At the end, recommendations for urban design improvement, regarding automated vehicles, will be presented to the municipalities. These recommendations in the form of design guidelines will be aimed to improve traffic safety and thus the attractiveness of the municipalities.

Pablo Núñez Velasco

Start/end date: April 2016/ April 2020
Daily supervisor: Haneen Farah
Promotor: Marjan Hagenzieker, Bart van Arem