That was the title of the presentation made by Louis Hendriks (Rijkswaterstaat) at the Dutch National Road Safety Conference (NVVC) on 26 April 2018. According to Mr. Hendriks the future is full of beautiful promises, but in the meantime road operators have to manage the road network today for traffic flow and safety which becomes more difficult due to the growth of the fleet. Road operators are dealing with an innovation dilemma between the daily operation and future. Which innovation(s) will have impact in the coming years or will it be later?
He presented the Leading Innovations Timeline, one of the topics dealt with in the EU EIP project. For many innovations it is important to realise that these will be adopted through a so-called S-curve, with very low penetration rates in the beginning. Especially for vehicle-based systems it can take more than 20 years to have a significant penetration ratio of new technological in-car devices and therefore impact on traffic management.
A question was raised from the audience to what extent technological innovations will have an impact on the requirements of the physical infrastructure, such as round-abouts, complex intersections, etc. Also, it was stressed that authorities and industry should pay more attention to the connected bicycle. This question must be seen in the light that in 2017 for the first time in the Netherlands more cyclists than car drivers were killed in traffic. Fortunately, the total number of traffic casualties in 2017 has decreased from 629 to 613.
In the session a couple of statements were discussed. In the light of the above note on cyclists, attendees agreed that ADAS will not lead to a significant decrease of accidents, simply because in many fatal accidents cars are not even involved. However, on the motorways it could very well make a difference. However, the impact of ADAS and in-car systems also depends on how the systems and information are used by the drivers.
Most participants agreed with the statements that for the short run no safety impacts should be expected from Automated Driving, and even more so this applies to the secondary roads.
The presentation (in Dutch only) can be found here.