Data from ‘near misses’ to be analysed in hope to improve road safety

26th Mar 2024

Traffic sensor technology is set for an upgrade in the West Midlands to help establish the cause of collisions.

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A strategic partnership has been established that could have a wide-reaching impact on UK roads, as authorities look to reduce accidents and incidents on the networks.


The partnership between Transport for West Midlands (TfWM) - part of the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) - and transport technology company VivaCity will be the first UK road safety project of its kind.


Specifically, 32 existing traffic sensors in the West Midlands have been upgraded to now include the ‘Near Miss’ feature. This, according to the company, “Combines object speed and path data to understand interactions between two road users in order to estimate the likelihood of a collision.”


Armed with this information about road safety data, local authorities can identify and diagnose dangerous sites and hotspots on the road network.


The first phase of the project will monitor insights from the Near Miss data over a period of six to 12 months. From there, the second phase will use these insights to identify other locations that could benefit from similar technology in the future.


The partners say that one of the big advantages of this approach is the ability to go to the source of the problem of collisions and then provide insights into why they are occurring in the first place and offer potential solutions.


“The upgrade of our existing sensors to include Near Miss will aid our goal of diagnosing the root causes of dangerous road users’ interactions over the coming months,” said Mark Nicholson, CEO and co-founder of VivaCity, at the announcement of the company’s tie-up with TfWM.


“We aim to use the collated data to improve road safety throughout the West Midlands and, in turn, identify more hotspots that could be vital to reducing traffic incidents. This partnership is a positive step in improving road safety in the UK.”


In response, Andy Street, mayor of West Midlands and chair of the WMCA said that the partnership with VivaCity would help futureproof the road networks.


“With the added benefits of Near Miss technology, local authorities will be empowered to help prevent future road collisions by being aware of issues before the worst happens,” he reasoned. “Our shared mission is to innovate road traffic networks to make improvements for local people across the board. Road safety is of paramount importance, so it is great to be working with VivaCity to help make this a reality.”


This focus on near misses has also featured on the CIHT website with University College London’s Professor of Transport Safety, Nicola Christie, explaining how lead indicators such as near-miss technology could bring about real positive change in road safety.


VivaCity has announced an expansion into both Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, as these areas look to increase levels of active travel and reduce incidents and accidents on the roads.


With this commitment in mind, during 2024 CIHT will undertake a project, which will be chaired by Dr Suzy Charman Executive Director, Road Safety Foundation to investigate what can be done to implement a Safe System for road safety in the UK. If you are interested in finding out more please contact e:


Main image: VivaCity technology shows a near miss in action between a cyclist and a car; credit: VivaCity.

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