Road crashes ranked the top leading cause of death (30%) of children (<14 years) between 2015 and 2018. A large population of schoolchildren is at crash risk in school zones due to their small size and less visibility, shorter legs and more head and chest injuries, poorer peripheral vision, poorer decision-making, inaccurate speed and distances judgment, and lack of experience.
Given nearly 230 critical conflicts precede every crash, assessment of critical conflicts is crucial for preventing crashes. Currently, the contributions of school zone dynamics to these critical conflicts are unknown. This project aims to assess the critical conflicts and current/future crash risks in school zones by considering road users’ behaviour and school zone built-environment.
This project is funded by Road Safety and Innovation Fund Round 2 that is currently conducted by Dr. Shamsi Shekari (leader) and Prof Simon Smith (Chief Investigator) at the Institute for Social Science Research, the University of Queensland. This is the first study in Australia that assesses schoolchildren’s safety via a vision-based tracking platform. The project involves a one-week video filming of three school zones during peak hours and real-time observation of these videos by the SMART Road Safety Digital Platform of the Advanced Mobility Analytics Group (AMAG). This platform will identify road users’ types, trajectory, speed, and any critical conflicts between children and other road users. The platform will use Artificial Intelligence (AI) to identify the probability and severity of crashes and predict the future crash risk of schoolchildren. The platform identifies a series of interventions to prioritise school children and redesign a fair and adaptive built environment to prevent critical conflicts/crashes in school zones. In addition to the video filming, the project comprises a qualitative study that aims to identify relevant educational interventions via focus group sessions with the drivers about their attitudes towards school zone safety.
This project will improve “Safe Road” and “ Safe Road Use” priority outcomes of the National Road Safety Strategy 2021-30 for schoolchildren.