The purpose of the partnership is to assess the road safety issues associated with autonomous vehicle traffic on open roads, as part of an experimental demand-responsive transport service. This work is based on a scientific protocol and, in its final phase, leads to recommendations.

Une belle histoire de partenariat... avec transdev

The need

Transdev is a French public transport operator present in 17 countries. Its goal is to design and operate mobility solutions that integrate different shared travel modes: public, collective, private, urban and rural.

Since 2017, in the framework of the Rouen Normandy Metropolis, the Rouen Normandy Autonomous Lab programme was founded by private companies (Transdev, Renault, Matmut) with support from public stakeholders (Europe, the French state, the region) and France's Banque des Territoires.

This approach is the first of its kind in Europe, and meets the local need for a last-mile journey option and for connections between two terminuses. Road safety is the key issue on which the impact of driverless vehicles is long-awaited; they could reduce the risk of collisions with other vehicles, and even with vulnerable road users. The road safety issues associated with an autonomous vehicle moving around an open site are therefore critical. Clearly, they relate to the behaviour of road users.

The partnership

In the context of the experiments run by Rouen Normandy Autonomous Lab, and with road safety in mind, Cerema proposes to:

  • evaluate the influence of autonomous vehicle traffic on the journeys made by, and interactions with, other road users (i.e. who are not using the service);
  • estimate to what extent autonomous vehicles are accepted by other road users, with regard to the safety of their journeys.

Cerema is gathering the main lessons learned that could be useful for local highways authorities and/or for authorities that organise mobility options.

A methodological document stating recommendations will be produced. In particular, it might identify the prerequisites and vigilance points to observe for local authorities that are keen to test the use of autonomous vehicles in open sites used by general traffic. This document will be constructed with an educational objective of sharing the methodology.

This study is receiving support from the Smart City programme run by the French public sector financial institution Caisse des Dépôts et Consignations.

The innovation

For the purposes of this experiment, Cerema has run a complete observation system on one of the circuits made operational by Transdev. This approach served to characterise the interactions between moving autonomous vehicles and all other road users in the vicinity: light vehicles, heavy goods vehicles, cyclists and pedestrians. As a result, it pinpointed the situations that occur most frequently with different road configurations: roundabout entry and exit, signal-controlled junctions, link sections, etc.

Road users will be asked to complete surveys, to find out how they feel about an autonomous vehicle appearing near them on the road, and the impact it has on road users' safety. The results will provide an overview of the objective conclusions derived from observation data and the subjective conclusions from the survey data, and will help suggest the ideal official line to ensure the safety of road users and their journeys.

Partenariat Institut Carnot Clim'adapt et Transdev


A partnership

Partenariat Institut Carnot Clim'adapt et Transdev

Institut Carnot Clim'adaptInstitut Carnot Clim’adapt is developing partnership-based research, i.e. management of research work conducted by public sector laboratories in partnership with socio-economic players, businesses of all sizes and local authorities, in order to meet their needs.
By making use of Cerema’s exceptional resources and regional coverage relating to research, engineering, expertise and equipment, Clim’adapt supports its partners to enable them to transition to a resource-efficient, carbon-free, environment-friendly economy, linked to new life styles engendered by digital transition and adaptation to climate change.
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