In the U.S. in 2019, a pedestrian was killed in a roadway collision every 85 minutes and many more were injured. In an effort to reverse those trends, a new group recently formed—Vulnerable Road Users Injury Prevention Alliance (VIPA).
Based in Michigan, the new coalition is comprised of automakers, academic institutions, government agencies, and law enforcement. Their mission is to address safety trends as they relate to pedestrians and seek out solutions for reducing pedestrian-related crashes.
Real-world data is playing a critical role in achieving that mission. Using Michigan as a focus, VIPA built two key databases to support researchers.
One database monitors samples from police-reported crashes involving pedestrians and cyclists, and, when possible, matches with injury data from treating hospitals. The second database provides a reconstruction of selected crashes, with in-depth pre-crash, vehicle, and medical data, to help find trends that could potentially lead to better pedestrian and bicyclist protection.
With actionable data like this, policymakers, automotive engineers, and transportation planners can make more informed decisions about safety-enhancing designs to protect pedestrians and other vulnerable road users.
As a founding partner of VIPA, Volkswagen Group of America, for example, is already gaining insights from the data to better understand why and how collisions with pedestrians are happening. Ultimately, Volkswagen’s goal is to use the data to determine ways to improve their vehicle designs to prevent, or at least minimize the severity of the interaction between pedestrians and vehicles in the future.
In addition, VIPA’s data is being used by safety regulators to craft new rules for improving pedestrian safety. The fresh insights gained from VIPA’s work can be used to create regulations and make a significant difference in the field.
In 2019, 6,205 pedestrians were killed and an estimated 76,000 were injured nationwide, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).