About one fifth of all traffic accidents in Belgium are collisions with obstacles off the carriageway. Generally a single vehicle is involved in these.
However, there is a considerable difference in severity of the consequences of such accidents. The risk of death after a collision with an obstacle off the carriageway is at least twice as high as the average risk of being killed in a traffic accident. And the risk of serious injuries is still at least 60 % higher than on average.
The objective of the SPACE project was to identify solutions that offer the greatest potential safety gains. A literature review was made for that purpose, and a panel of experts evaluated a number of promising treatments by means of interactive visual tools and through experiments in a driving simulator.
Skid resistance is defined as the frictional resistance at the interface between a vehicle tyre and the road surface. It plays an important part in the safety of road users: a correlation has been demonstrated between the skid resistance of pavements and accident rates (see the diagram opposite) [of course, there are many other possible causes of accidents: human error, vehicle technical failure, weather conditions, other infrastructure-related factors, etc.]. Wet pavement skid resistance is considered here, since dry pavement skid resistance is rarely a problem. A rough contact between the road and the tyres makes it possible to utilize the friction forces in braking. These friction forces also allow easier cornering. As a result, it is obvious that road managers should pay much attention to skid resisistance and alert road users in time of any local problem with poor skid resistance, and also that they should replace the pavement as soon as possible by an adequately skid-resistant pavement.
Society yearns for safer, smoother and cleaner traffic. The decrease in public investments, coupled with these justified social expectations, is underlining the need for new answers to the traditional challenges. Road managers and operators are currently working towards a culture of network optimization. These various factors are at the core of the exponential growth of intelligent transport systems (ITS).
BRRC contributes to this area by collecting and disseminating information. A good knowledge of the potential of ITS as an alternative to more traditional, more physical methods, is essential for decision-makers and road planners. These systems, which come in various forms and formats, are intended for the road network as a whole, from motorways to municipal roads.
With support from the Belgian Federal Public Service Economy, SMEs, Middle Classes and Energy, BRRC operates a standards support office that goes by the acronym “NAN”. The object is to inform SMEs in the road branch and make them aware of developments in the field of standardization and, where necessary, to offer them additional support in implementing new standards (which are often mandatory).