Behavioural aspects for safer transport

Specific Challenge

To make all transport modes safer (roads, rail, waterborne and aviation), an increased understanding is needed of the behaviour of individual users (in this case drivers, riders, pilots, cyclists, pedestrians and other transport users), and of their interaction with their associated safety-related systems and services (such as on-board technologies, mobile devices and infrastructure).

The challenge is to study those key factors that influence safe transport user behaviour, both individually and collectively, taking into account demographic factors (gender, age, socio-cultural aspects, etc.) and societal framework conditions (changing living conditions etc.). Using the knowledge gained on the interacting parameters that define user behaviour and their combined effects, appropriate measures and systems should be developed and assessed to ensure safe user performance, to pro-actively anticipate user response and reduce the number of errors and potential accidents in the transport system.


Proposals should address the following aspects:

  • Distraction and health related factors such as: studying the parameters that influence user condition (fatigue, illness, use of drugs, medicines, alcohol, etc.); distraction caused by using on-board and mobile devices; behaviour causing unsafe conditions (e.g. switching off safety functions, extreme emotions) affecting response in pre-crash situations; assessment of the psychological condition of those in charge of vehicles/vessels; and identification and development of suitable mitigation measures.
  • Social and demographic factors such as: variations in safety behaviour, socio-cultural issues, gender, age and disability and their impact on risk assessment and exposure of each individual or group; and identification and development of measures to address these factors and reduce their impact.
  • Risk appraisal such as: development of analysis and assessment methods for factors affecting the level of risk users are willing to take, e.g. the ability to judge and manage conditions like weather, infrastructure condition and traffic levels; and development of means to reduce hazardous risk taking.
  • Measures to modify transport user behaviour such as: novel enforcement and incentive schemes for high risk groups; focused and coordinated training schemes and tools for transport users based on reliable interaction and behavioural models piloted widely across different types of traffic and geographical regions; analysis of changes in users' behaviour from first use to familiarisation and confidence in new safety assistance systems.

Extensive knowledge on user behaviour has been developed within each transport mode, e.g. mental overload for pilots, the effect of shift rotation on train driver response time. Transfer of knowledge between transport modes and an effective deployment of multi-modal solutions are recommended, as well as the inclusion of non-traditional transport modes, such as personal mobility devices.

Active participation of SMEs is strongly encouraged.

In line with the strategy for EU international cooperation in research and innovation[[COM(2012)497]], international cooperation is encouraged, in particular with industrialised countries (i.e. US, Japan, Canada, Australia) and emerging economies (primarily China, India, Brazil). Proposals should foresee twinning with entities participating in projects funded by US DOT[[United States Department of Transportation (]] to exchange knowledge and experience and exploit synergies.

The Commission considers that proposals requesting a contribution from the EU of between EUR 4 and 9 million each would allow this specific challenge to be addressed appropriately. Nonetheless, this does not preclude submission and selection of proposals requesting other amounts.

Expected Impact

Solutions will contribute to achieving the objective of the Transport White Paper to ensure that the EU remains a world leader in the safety of all modes of transport.

Research and innovation on this topic will result in: reduction of fatal, serious and minor accidents through measures to mitigate unsafe transport user behaviour patterns; economic savings linked to the reduction of accidents; safer use of vehicles and increased awareness of other users; effective enforcement and training schemes based on reliable behavioural models; safe integration of new types of vehicle and increased usage of 'soft' modes.

Application date
Social sciences
Humanities : Anthropology & Ethnology