A prototype intelligent pedestrian traffic signal system tested at an intersection in Alcalá de Henares, Spain reduced serious pedestrian-vehicle conflicts by 20 percent.

EU-funded study pilots Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS) to improve the safety and mobility of vulnerable road users (VRU) through ITS applications

Date Posted

Improving the safety and mobility of vulnerable road users through ITS applications: Deliverable D5.3 Evaluation Results

Summary Information

The VRUITS project, which is sponsored by the European Commission DG MOVE, places the Vulnerable Road User (VRU) in the center, assesses the impact of current and upcoming ITS applications on the safety and mobility of VRUs, identifies how the usability and efficiency of ITS applications can be improved, and recommends which actions have to be taken at a policy level to improve ITS safety and mobility. By applying a multi-disciplinary approach, the VRUITS project aims at developing tools to evaluate, field-test and subsequently improve ITS for vulnerable road users.

A system to increase the safety and comfort of pedestrians by activating the demand for a green light and preventing collisions with right-turning vehicles was installed at a trial site in Alcalá de Henares, Spain. For the trial, the intersection implemented a smart traffic controller based on the main characteristics of the Intelligent Pedestrian Traffic Signal (IPTS) and the Intersection Safety (INS) systems.

  • The IPTS includes VRU2I (Vulnerable Road User-to-Infrastructure) and I2VRU (Infrastructure-to-VRU) communications where pedestrians can activate green light demand for crossing an intersection via their smart phone. While VRUs are crossing, the IPTS detects them to extend the pedestrian green phase, ensuring a pedestrian’s safe crossing.
  • The INS includes I2V (Infrastructure-to-Vehicle) communications to inform drivers turning right, with low visibility, about pedestrians' presence on the road. The detection of pedestrians on the crosswalk, made by the IPTS, is used to give this information to drivers. A mobile application for the driver is developed for this function. The driver’s smartphone is connected to a prototype in-vehicle communication device and is able to communicate with the smart traffic controller.

System capabilities included:

  • Pedestrian push buttons replaced by Bluetooth Low Energy beacons that allowed pedestrians to communicate to infrastructure
  • An Android-based mobile application that allowed pedestrians to activate a demand for a pedestrian green phase and to receive information from the infrastructure.
  • An artificial vision camera that detected the pedestrians' path and extended the green time until pedestrians had crossed safely.
  • LED bulbs that illuminated the crosswalk at night (additional illumination improves the performance of detection in darkness and increases pedestrian safety).
  • An On Board Unit / Cooperative Intelligent Transport System station with ITS-G5 communications to warn drivers turning right about a pedestrians’ presence on the crosswalk through the detection camera.

The user evaluation of the safety and comfort effects consisted of a before (without system operating) and after (with system operating) comparison of the responses received from pedestrian and driver questionnaires.

  • The "Before" tests occurred over 3 days in January 2015. A total of 41 user responses were collected for the "before" questionnaire.
  • The "After" tests occurred over 3 days in June 2015. A total of 40 user responses were collected for the "after" questionnaire.
  • A total of 42 drivers participated in the "with system operating" mobile application questionnaire.


Pedestrian Questionnaire:

  • Safety: no significant decrease in the number of total pedestrian conflicts, though there was a slight reduction of serious conflicts from 15 percent to 12 percent.
  • Comfort: The participants did not perceive any differences in the waiting time for pedestrians. However, the percentage of pedestrians indicating that the time to cross was enough was reduced. When users were asked their opinion on whether there was a comfortable number of pedestrians at the crossing, there was a slight shift towards "totally comfortable", with an increase from 68 percent to 89 percent.

Driver Questionnaire:

  • Approximately 81 percent of the participants found the application easy to use.
  • Approximately 74 percent of the users felt safe while using this application.
  • Over 64 percent of the participants would like to have the mobile application.

Improving the safety and mobility of vulnerable road users through ITS applications: Deliverable D5.3 Evaluation Results

Improving the safety and mobility of vulnerable road users through ITS applications: Deliverable D5.3 Evaluation Results
Source Publication Date
Scholliers, Johan; Esra van Dam; Kerry Malone; Dennis Heuven; Erwin de Gelder; Valentina Brantova; Johana Gonzalez Luna; Sandra Martín Fernández; Oscar Martin Perez
VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland
Results Type
Deployment Locations