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Road Safety and Better Mobility in Sustainable Urban Transport

A special issue of Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050). This special issue belongs to the section "Sustainable Transportation".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 30 November 2024 | Viewed by 20918

Special Issue Editors

Highway Engineering Research Group, Universitat Politècnica de València, 46022 Valencia, Spain
Interests: road safety; vulnerable road users; road geometric design; autonomous vehicles; vehicle emissions; pavement maintenance; crash analysis
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals
Highway Engineering Research Group, Universitat Politècnica de València, 46022 Valencia, Spain
Interests: road safety; vulnerable road users; micromobility; highway geometric design; traffic engineering; vehicle emissions
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Mobility patterns and lifestyles have changed in recent years in cities worldwide thanks to the rise in modes of travel commonly referred to as micro-mobility. It includes all transportation modes that allow users to make a hybrid usage and behave either as a pedestrian or as a vehicle at their convenience or when necessary. Defined as such, microvehicles include all easy-to-carry or easy-to-push vehicles allowing for the augmentation of the pedestrian. They can range from the lightest rollers and skis to the heaviest two-wheeled, self-balancing personal transporters. They can be motorized or nonmotorized; shared or privately owned. Bicycle riding is the most widespread micromobility transport mode, followed by electric scooters (e-scooters), that can address the first–last mile problem or even be used for door-to-door trips.

This mobility change was also influenced by the COVID-19 pandemic. To reduce the risk of becoming infected on public transport, people started to replace public transport with micromobility transport modes, and even the proportion of medium- and long-distance trips by micromobility services increased during the lockdown period. In fact, micromobility patterns have changed during the pandemic from complementary modes to full trip solutions.

In this Special Issue, we aim to characterize vulnerable road users and their interactions with motorized vehicles from a road safety perspective. Likewise, this Special Issue is open to research that focuses on the influence of the geometry and configuration of bicycle tracks on micro-mobility users’ behavior. This Special Issue will help researchers and practitioners understand micro-mobility patterns and design more sustainable and safer facilities for vulnerable road users.

With this in mind, potential topics of interest include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Traffic conflicts between micromobility users (cyclists, e-scooter users, etc.);
  • Interaction between micromobility users during overtaking or meeting maneuvers;
  • Traffic conflicts between micromobility users and motorized vehicles at intersections;
  • Traffic conflicts between micromobility users and pedestrians;
  • Influence of bicycle track geometry (horizontal and vertical alignment and cross-section) on micromobility operation;
  • Influence of the type of bicycle tracks (sidepath, protected bicycle track, sharrow, etc.) on micromobility users’ behavior;
  • Influence of pavement type (asphalt, concrete, tiled, etc.) of bicycle tracks on micromobility operation and safety;
  • New procedures in road safety data collection and analysis in urban environments;
  • Road safety countermeasures at intersections with non-motorized and motorized vehicles.

We look forward to receiving your contributions.

Dr. David Llopis Castelló
Dr. Ana María Pérez-Zuriaga
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Sustainability is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2400 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • road safety
  • driver behavior
  • vulnerable road users
  • micro-mobility
  • urban mobility
  • cyclists
  • pedestrians
  • crash analysis
  • traffic conflicts
  • bicycle track

Published Papers (11 papers)

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Research

18 pages, 4140 KiB  
Article
Sustainable Mobilities in the Neighborhood: Methodological Innovation for Social Change
Sustainability 2023, 15(4), 3583; https://doi.org/10.3390/su15043583 - 15 Feb 2023
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1706
Abstract
The German federal state of Baden-Wuerttemberg with its regional capital Stuttgart is a major field for the mobility transition in Europe. As one of seven living labs in the state, MobiQSustainable Mobility through Sharing in the Neighborhood follows a civil society, [...] Read more.
The German federal state of Baden-Wuerttemberg with its regional capital Stuttgart is a major field for the mobility transition in Europe. As one of seven living labs in the state, MobiQSustainable Mobility through Sharing in the Neighborhood follows a civil society, non-commercial approach. Utilizing the research design of living labs, research and practice work hand in hand to promote citizen participation in co-designing and co-producing neighborhood-based, and developing shared mobility solutions. The spatial focus is on three locations: A 10,500-inhabitant post-war settlement on the outskirts of Stuttgart (Stuttgart-Rot), a city-neighborhood with about 6000 inhabitants (Geislingen an der Steige) and a rural municipality of approximately 3000 inhabitants (Waldburg). In this article, we propose how theoretical considerations of the sustainability transitions of mobility systems can be deployed on the ground. Through this study, we offer first-hand insights into living lab experiences and inspire scholars worldwide to harness the networks of civic actors in order to contribute to a cultural change in mobility practice. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Road Safety and Better Mobility in Sustainable Urban Transport)
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17 pages, 10745 KiB  
Article
Improving Cyclists’ Safety Using Intelligent Situational Awareness System
Sustainability 2023, 15(4), 2866; https://doi.org/10.3390/su15042866 - 04 Feb 2023
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1583
Abstract
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), over 1.35 million people died in road traffic-related accidents worldwide in 2020 of which 41,000 are related to the cyclists. Bike safety is one of the most serious issues facing urban riders. According to Statistics Canada, [...] Read more.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), over 1.35 million people died in road traffic-related accidents worldwide in 2020 of which 41,000 are related to the cyclists. Bike safety is one of the most serious issues facing urban riders. According to Statistics Canada, this number represents 1654 cyclist deaths in Canada, an average of 74 deaths each year from 2006 to 2017. Cyclists are a critical component in traffic collisions, where they face a greater risk of serious injury or death. As a result, they are classified as vulnerable road users. To avoid this, the need for intelligent transportation systems (ITSs) that increase susceptible cyclists’ awareness of their surroundings is becoming apparent. As a result, we proposed a situational awareness system as part of ITS to enhance bike safety through the employment of three layers of applications: (1) the users tier (mobile application), (2) the virtual private server (VPS) and processing system, and (3) the database management system (DMS). These decision support systems (DSSs) improve vulnerable road users’ situational awareness by identifying high-risk regions for cyclists or motorcyclists using static and dynamic data and then notifying vulnerable road users. The suggested situational awareness system collects and integrates incoming data, prioritizes criteria, and notifies users based on a static hot-spot map produced from accident locations and dynamic data, such as traffic flow, weather conditions, and the user’s speed. The developed work made use of both single threading (for requests from less than 1000 users) and multi-threading (for requests from more than 1000 users), resulting in a highly scalable system based on an open source platform for higher numbers of requests. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Road Safety and Better Mobility in Sustainable Urban Transport)
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24 pages, 1352 KiB  
Article
Is Cycling Safe? Does It Look like It? Insights from Helsinki and Barcelona
Sustainability 2023, 15(2), 905; https://doi.org/10.3390/su15020905 - 04 Jan 2023
Viewed by 1039
Abstract
Cycling constitutes a clean, healthy, and low-cost mode of transport. Therefore, the promotion of cycling is currently one of the main goals of administrations around the word. Former studies have shown that safety perception plays a fundamental role in the acceptance of bikes [...] Read more.
Cycling constitutes a clean, healthy, and low-cost mode of transport. Therefore, the promotion of cycling is currently one of the main goals of administrations around the word. Former studies have shown that safety perception plays a fundamental role in the acceptance of bikes as a habitual mode of transport. In this context, this research aims to determine which variables and actions can give rise to this feeling of safety and, therefore, collaborate in the modal shift towards a more sustainable mobility. For this purpose, different strategies have been developed in two different contexts, Helsinki and Barcelona, using two different methodologies, namely expert interviews and analysis of survey data. Particularly, the methodology of analysis used includes descriptive statistics and path analysis. Results point out that safety perception highly depends on trip purpose, as significant differences are observed for daily users compared to those who cycle for sport reasons. Demographic characteristics (age, gender, etc.) and use patterns are also associated with different perceptions of safety and different behaviors. However, for any cyclist, the quality of the available infrastructure significantly influences his/her safety perception. Thus, the provision of good quality and well-structured cycling infrastructure is the most important initiative to promote cycling. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Road Safety and Better Mobility in Sustainable Urban Transport)
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14 pages, 2074 KiB  
Article
Skid Resistance Analysis of Urban Bike Lane Pavements for Safe Micromobility
Sustainability 2023, 15(1), 698; https://doi.org/10.3390/su15010698 - 30 Dec 2022
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1843
Abstract
The use of micromobility vehicles is considerably growing in cities worldwide. As a result, crashes involving these vehicles are also increasing, with single-bicycle crashes accounting for a significant percentage. In most infrastructure-related crashes, the road surface was slippery. In this context, the study [...] Read more.
The use of micromobility vehicles is considerably growing in cities worldwide. As a result, crashes involving these vehicles are also increasing, with single-bicycle crashes accounting for a significant percentage. In most infrastructure-related crashes, the road surface was slippery. In this context, the study of pavement skid resistance is crucial to improve micromobility safety. In this research, the British pendulum tester was used to test the skid resistance of 5 different types of pavements on 17 bike lane locations in Valencia (Spain). Additionally, micromobility users’ speed was collected to analyse users’ behaviour. The results showed that asphalt, concrete, and rough painted tile pavements had the greatest skid resistance, whereas painted cobble and smooth painted tile pavements presented poor skid resistance. These values were compared with the limits set by the few guidelines that includes skid resistance thresholds. Moreover, skid resistance variability was also studied, with asphalt pavement being the most homogeneous. Based on the results of the research, several recommendations are proposed for the pavement to be used in the micromobility facility according to its typology. To this end, the investigatory level of skid resistance and the minimum braking distance required were also defined for each type of pavement and bike lane. The findings of this study contribute to the consideration of micromobility safety from the construction stage to the pavement management. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Road Safety and Better Mobility in Sustainable Urban Transport)
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20 pages, 1881 KiB  
Article
Experimental Study of Cyclist’ Sensitivity When They Are Overtaken by a Motor Vehicle: A Pilot Study in a Street without Cycle Lanes
Sustainability 2022, 14(24), 16784; https://doi.org/10.3390/su142416784 - 14 Dec 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 893
Abstract
The objective of this work is to study the sensitivity of cyclists who are overtaken by a motor vehicle in a street route without cycling lanes. To achieve this, an experimental method is proposed in which 17 cyclists were recruited and classified into [...] Read more.
The objective of this work is to study the sensitivity of cyclists who are overtaken by a motor vehicle in a street route without cycling lanes. To achieve this, an experimental method is proposed in which 17 cyclists were recruited and classified into two groups: non-experienced users and experienced ones. In each run, the motor vehicle generated a stimulus presented on the route, considering different speeds and distances in the overtaken maneuver of the motor vehicle. The sensitivity was reported by audiovisual records to capture the stimuli to which they were subjected. The results obtained show that an experienced cyclist reacts 1.27 times faster than a non-experienced one. This advantage gives experienced users greater safety and a level of confidence on the road, since being able to go faster, reduces their relative speed difference with motor vehicles and gives such cyclists a greater feeling of comfort during their trip. As future research, it is proposed to carry out studies with different types of cyclists and group size to be able to compare the perceived sensitivities of making the trip individually versus one made collectively for different types of road infrastructure such as dedicated cycling pathways. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Road Safety and Better Mobility in Sustainable Urban Transport)
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18 pages, 4458 KiB  
Article
Design of Sustainable Asphalt Mixtures for Bike Lanes Using RAP and Ceramic Waste as Substitutes for Natural Aggregates
Sustainability 2022, 14(23), 15777; https://doi.org/10.3390/su142315777 - 27 Nov 2022
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1511
Abstract
The European Union is promoting a circular economy in which waste management plays an essential role. Although many studies focusing on the use of recycled materials in the manufacture of asphalt mixtures for roads have been developed, studies related to the use of [...] Read more.
The European Union is promoting a circular economy in which waste management plays an essential role. Although many studies focusing on the use of recycled materials in the manufacture of asphalt mixtures for roads have been developed, studies related to the use of recycled materials for the construction of bike lanes are scarce. In this context, the main objective of this research is to explore the behaviour of asphalt mixtures with high replacement rates of recycled materials—reclaimed asphalt pavement (RAP) and ceramic waste—by natural aggregates for the construction of bike lanes. A total of six types of asphalt mixtures were designed by combining the content of the recycled materials and natural aggregates, with replacement rates ranging from 50% to 100%. The asphalt mixtures were characterized by determining the bulk and maximum density; the void content in the mixture; and the aggregate, stability, and deformation. In conclusion, the mixture C50R50, which consists of a full replacement of natural fine and coarse aggregates by 50% ceramic waste aggregate and 50% RAP, is proposed as the most appropriate sustainable solution. In this way, the use of this asphalt mixture allows for boosting the use of recycled aggregates as well as minimizing the consumption of virgin bitumen due to its residual bitumen content. Compared to the reference asphalt mixture consisting of 100% of natural aggregates, C50R50 is a more open mixture, with higher void content and somewhat more brittleness. Even so, the mixture C50R50 could be good enough for use in low traffic roads. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Road Safety and Better Mobility in Sustainable Urban Transport)
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36 pages, 4450 KiB  
Article
E-Scooter Presence in Urban Areas: Are Consistent Rules, Paying Attention and Smooth Infrastructure Enough for Safety?
Sustainability 2022, 14(21), 14303; https://doi.org/10.3390/su142114303 - 01 Nov 2022
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 3995
Abstract
Electric micromobility represents a sustainable mobility option for specific classes of users and distance thresholds. Had this mobility solution been integrated into a comprehensive mobility framework from the beginning, it would have expanded the coverage and accessibility of urban transit services. Instead, slow [...] Read more.
Electric micromobility represents a sustainable mobility option for specific classes of users and distance thresholds. Had this mobility solution been integrated into a comprehensive mobility framework from the beginning, it would have expanded the coverage and accessibility of urban transit services. Instead, slow and incoherent regulation has established a contrast between enthusiastic users (who consider electric micromobility vehicles “fun” and “easy to use”) and recalcitrant public opinion (wherein electric micromobility vehicles are deemed “unsafe” and “dangerous”). Beyond the few attempts made by transport experts to assess the capability of e-scooters to become a sound mobility option (through mobility surveys, pattern analysis, fleet and routing problems), safety and infrastructure design should be developed in a consistent way in order to guarantee a balanced transport setting. With respect to this challenge, a methodology framework is proposed to address the increasing proliferation of micromobility in the context of a coherent transport system. Special attention is devoted to those aspects that have received less attention from the scientific community, namely infrastructure and safe interactions at intersections. The similarities and differences between e-scooters and bikes, chosen in this study as the representative of traditional soft mobility modes, have been taken into consideration. To support the proposed approach, tests investigating e-scooter performance and the perception of both the modes at safety-critical nodes (such as intersections) under different conditions are presented, and the methodology can be applied to a variety of urban scales. The results can be adopted by local authorities, transport companies and e-mobility providers to optimize infrastructure and increase the number and quality of available mobility options. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Road Safety and Better Mobility in Sustainable Urban Transport)
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13 pages, 303 KiB  
Article
Delivering in Urban Areas: A Probabilistic-Behavioral Approach for Forecasting the Use of Electric Micromobility
Sustainability 2022, 14(15), 9075; https://doi.org/10.3390/su14159075 - 25 Jul 2022
Cited by 9 | Viewed by 2037
Abstract
Urban delivering is facing some significant changes that are heading towards unsustainable scenarios. At the same time, local administrations as well as city planners are involved in promoting new solutions that can help to improve city sustainability and livability. In this context, electric [...] Read more.
Urban delivering is facing some significant changes that are heading towards unsustainable scenarios. At the same time, local administrations as well as city planners are involved in promoting new solutions that can help to improve city sustainability and livability. In this context, electric micromobility could offer a valuable contribution. In fact, electric micromobility systems such as e-bikes and e-scooters, both at an individual level or as a shared service, could represent sustainable mobility options for city logistics, especially for specific classes of parcel delivery, users’ characteristics and travelled distances. Considering both the growth of e-commerce and the spreading of new options for delivering parcels (e.g., crowdshipping), electric micromobility (e-bikes and e-scooters) could support the penetration and acceptability of such new options, limiting the impacts of delivery operations. After analysis of the current e-commerce background and a review of the current delivery options to satisfy delivery demand, crowdshipping stands out. Thus, the potential shift from private transport to e-micromobility for crowdshipping is investigated, assuming that potential crowdshippers may, mainly, be commuters. The methodology is based on using probabilistic-behavioral models developed within random utility theory, which allow the potential shift towards e-micromobility for commuting to be forecasted. The models were calibrated in Rome, where more than 200 interviews with commuters were available. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Road Safety and Better Mobility in Sustainable Urban Transport)
31 pages, 15051 KiB  
Article
Using Bidirectional Long-Term Memory Neural Network for Trajectory Prediction of Large Inner Wheel Routes
Sustainability 2022, 14(10), 5935; https://doi.org/10.3390/su14105935 - 13 May 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1293
Abstract
When a large car turns at an intersection, it often leads to tragedy because the driver does not pay attention to the incoming car or the dead corner of the line of sight of the car body. On the market, the wheel difference [...] Read more.
When a large car turns at an intersection, it often leads to tragedy because the driver does not pay attention to the incoming car or the dead corner of the line of sight of the car body. On the market, the wheel difference warning system used in large cars generally adds sensors or lenses to confirm whether there are incoming vehicles in the dead corner of the line of sight. However, the accident rate of large vehicles has not been reduced due to the installation of a vision subsidy system. The main reason is that motorcycle and bicycle drivers often neglect to pay attention to the inner wheel difference formed when large vehicles turn, resulting in accidents with large vehicles at intersections. This paper proposes a bidirectional long-term memory neural network for the prediction of the inner wheel path trajectory of large cars, mainly from the perspective of motorcycle riders, through the combination of YOLOv4 and the stacked Bi-LSTM model used in this study to analyze the motion of large cars and predict the inner wheel path trajectory. In this study, the turning trajectory of large vehicles at the intersection is predicted by using an object detection algorithm and cyclic neural network model. Finally, the experiment shows that this study uses the stacked Bi-LSTM trajectory prediction model to predict the next second trajectory with one second trajectory data, and the prediction accuracy is 87.77%; it has an accuracy of 75.75% when predicting the trajectory data of two seconds. In terms of prediction error, the system has a better prediction error than LSTM and Bi-LSTM models. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Road Safety and Better Mobility in Sustainable Urban Transport)
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19 pages, 1549 KiB  
Article
Bike-Sharing Adoption in Cross-National Contexts: An Empirical Research on the Factors Affecting Users’ Intentions
Sustainability 2022, 14(6), 3208; https://doi.org/10.3390/su14063208 - 09 Mar 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1496
Abstract
Due to the need to promote a larger scale of low-carbon commuting, it is important to identify the influencing factors of the users’ intentions in the adoption of sharing bikes. For studying bike-sharing adoption in cross-national contexts, this research establishes a new model. [...] Read more.
Due to the need to promote a larger scale of low-carbon commuting, it is important to identify the influencing factors of the users’ intentions in the adoption of sharing bikes. For studying bike-sharing adoption in cross-national contexts, this research establishes a new model. By conducting multi-group structural equation modeling (SEM), the influencing factors of the adoption in China and Estonia are identified, respectively. Meanwhile, the moderation effects of the national context on several influencing factors are confirmed, and this result indicates that the contexts for bike-sharing adoption are different in the two countries. Two factors have also been found, namely the availability of infrastructure and the beneficial cost, for which policy interventions could have a significant impact in China but not in Estonia. Thus, more active policy interventions might lead to a higher level of adoption intention for the Chinese. This finding provides the implication that implementing policy interventions could be critical for accelerating the adoption of bike sharing and promoting low-carbon commuting. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Road Safety and Better Mobility in Sustainable Urban Transport)
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17 pages, 1344 KiB  
Article
Analysis of Crash Severity of Texas Two Lane Rural Roads Using Solar Altitude Angle Based Lighting Condition
Sustainability 2022, 14(3), 1692; https://doi.org/10.3390/su14031692 - 01 Feb 2022
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 1722
Abstract
Many studies have examined the impact of factors affecting accident severity in rural areas; however, little attention has been paid to different lighting conditions (LCs), and less to the detailed categories and precise determining of twilight. In this paper, solar altitude angle (SAA), [...] Read more.
Many studies have examined the impact of factors affecting accident severity in rural areas; however, little attention has been paid to different lighting conditions (LCs), and less to the detailed categories and precise determining of twilight. In this paper, solar altitude angle (SAA), as a basis for differentiating and categorizing LCs, is proposed to investigate explanatory variables in much greater detail. For each LC, namely, dark, twilight, dark lit (dark with street lights) and daylight, separate random parameter models are developed to investigate the impacts of some factors on crash injury severity data of 2017 and 2018 in two lane rural roads of Texas. The model estimation results indicated that different LCs have various contributing factors, indeed, to each injury severity, further stressing the significance of investigating crashes based on SAA. The key differences include crash location, marked lane, grade direction, no passing zone, shoulder width, weekday and collision type. The important findings were that developing artificial lighting at intersections and LED raised pavement markers on two lane rural roads could lead to enhanced road safety under dark LCs. Furthermore, increasing shoulder width in straight segments of two lane rural roads is important for decreasing severe injury in daylight conditions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Road Safety and Better Mobility in Sustainable Urban Transport)
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