In the face of cooperative intelligent transportation systems (C-ITS) advancements, the inclusion of vulnerable road users (VRU), i.e., pedestrians, cyclists, and motorcyclists, has just recently become a part of the discussion. Including VRU in C-ITS presents new challenges, most notably the trade-off between the increase in VRU safety and the aggravation in channel congestion resulting from VRU-generated messages. However, previous studies mainly focus on network-related metrics without giving much consideration to VRU safety-related metrics. In this context, we evaluated such a trade-off with a study of motion-based message generation rules for VRU transmissions. The rules were analyzed using theoretical and simulation-based evaluations. In addition to studying the message generation rules using channel load metrics, such as channel busy ratio (CBR) and packet delivery ratio (PDR), we introduced a new metric: the VRU Awareness Probability (VAP). VAP uses the exchange of messages from active VRU to measure the probability of VRU detection by nearby vehicles. Results show that fixed message-filtering mechanisms reduce the overall channel load, but they could negatively impact VRU detection. We established the importance of quantifying the VRU awareness and its inclusion in C-ITS analysis because of its direct impact on VRU safety. We also discussed approaches that include VRU context and dynamism to improve the definition of message generation rules.
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