Understanding the potential of emerging digital technologies for improving road safety

Mehran Eskandari Torbaghan, Manu Sasidharan, Louise Reardon, Muchanga Leila

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Each year, 1.35 million people are killed on the world’s roads and another 20-50 million are seriously injured. Morbidity or serious injury from road traffic collisions is estimated to increase to 265 million people between 2015 and 2030. Current road safety management systems rely heavily on manual data collection, visual inspection and subjective expert judgment for their effectiveness, which is costly, time-consuming, and sometimes ineffective due to under-reporting and the poor quality of the data. A range of innovations offers the potential to provide more comprehensive and effective data collection and analysis to improve road safety. However, there has been no systematic analysis of this evidence base. To this end, this paper provides a systematic review of the state of the art. It identifies that digital technologies - Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine-Learning, Image-Processing, Internet-of-Things (IoT), Smartphone applications, Geographic Information System (GIS), Global Positioning System (GPS), Drones, Social Media, Virtual-reality, Simulator, Radar, Sensor, Big Data – provide useful means for identifying and providing information on road safety factors including road user behaviour, road characteristics and operational environment. Moreover, the results show that digital technologies such as AI, Image processing and IoT have been widely applied to enhance road safety, due to their ability to automatically capture and analyse data while preventing the possibility of human error. However, a key gap in the literature remains their effectiveness in real-world environments. This limits their potential to be utilised by policymakers and practitioners.
Original languageEnglish
Article number106543
JournalAccident Analysis & Prevention
Early online date28 Dec 2021
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2022


  • Safety
  • Road
  • Transport
  • Digital technology
  • Information

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Safety, Risk, Reliability and Quality


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