Vulnerable road users: how can vehicle systems help to keep them safe and mobile?
Authors: Alma Siulagi, Jonathan F. Antin, Lisa J. Molnar, Sue Bai, Seleta Reynolds, Oliver Carsten, Ryan Greene-Roesel
For the first time in 2015, the Automated Vehicle Symposium featured a breakout session explicitly devoted to vulnerable road users (VRUs) and their use of and interactions with automated vehicles. A number of stakeholders, experts, and researchers from a variety of fields presented and discussed the state of current research and thought concerning the potential relationship of vulnerable road users and automated vehicles and how to maximize the benefits this novel technology might bring to these individuals. The topics included the role of design, various technological solutions, policies, and programs that could advance the safe mobility of VRUs in a future with an integrated fleet of automated vehicle systems. Through expert-led small group discussion, the breakout group produced a list of possible definitions for VRUs including pedestrians, cyclists, seniors (pedestrians as well as drivers), and identified key research gaps within the context of this multifaceted segment of the population. Some of these gaps related to motorcycle interactions, how different groups of VRUs will accept emerging AV technologies, and goals and solutions when considering how best to share limited roadway space across all road user constituencies.