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Realising Enhanced Safety and Efficiency in European Road Transport

The REACT project represents a breakthrough towards the long-term vision of significantly reducing traffic deaths and improving the transport infrastructure’s efficiency. REACT will sense natural and infrastructure conditions within and near each equipped vehicle. By using mobile vehicle sensors, REACT will ultimately cover all roads, and not just interurban routes where existing traffic management systems tend to be located.

Tags: Road


Transport by road is considered the most dangerous and costly of all modes of transport, in terms of human lives. Approximately 49 000 people die every year on the roads of European Union countries.

Moreover, the different growth speed of European cars and trucks compared to road infrastructure development (nearly always insufficient and inadequate), and the increasing need for passenger and freight mobility, result in a complex traffic congestion problem, more pronounced in high population areas. The efficiency decrease produced by road transportation congestion represents 11 billion hours of delay for European Union motorists.

Today, some urban and interurban areas have traffic management and advice systems that collect data from stationary sensors, analyse them, and post notices about road conditions ahead with recommended speed limits on display signs located at various points along specific routes. However, many other urban and interurban areas do not have such traffic management systems, and they are virtually non-existent on rural routes. With rural road crashes accounting for more than 60% of all road fatalities in OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) countries, the need for a system that can cover rural roads is compelling if a significant reduction in traffic deaths is to be achievable.


REACT will equip vehicles with sensors to give information on natural and infrastructure conditions. ‘Natural’ refers to weather and atmospheric conditions affecting travel, and can include the natural condition of the driver. ‘Infrastructure’ conditions refer to vehicle speed, road congestion, road surface condition, etc. The goal is to monitor natural and infrastructure condition variables that are believed or statistically proven to influence safety and efficiency. By using mobile rather than stationary sensors, the information can be collected for all relevant routes, subject to the capacity of the communications system – and not just those where the stationary sensors happen to be located. Also, while the stationary sensors now measure traffic conditions, REACT’s mobile sensors would include important natural and infrastructure conditions that are clearly quite influential on safety: visibility, road friction, traffic flow and vehicle speed. Over time, other natural conditions such as temperature and precipitation, and other driver measures, such as unusual steering wheel movements, could be added.

The analysis of the traffic conditions and safety risks of different routes can only be done in a central server that collects and analyses data coming from a large number of geographically distributed vehicles.

Description of work

REACT has key advantages over current systems:

  • it has mobile rather than stationary sensors, which cover all routes where vehicles travel
  • it measures relevant natural as well as infrastructure conditions
  • it gives customised, model-based recommendations transmitted to individual vehicles.

Where a regional traffic management system is operating, REACT will be coordinated with the regional system and come under its control. On rural roads and other routes where a regional traffic management system is not present, REACT’s central server will control messages sent to individual vehicles.

Improvements will address a number of indicators, the most important of which will be related to traffic safety and efficiency. With regard to safety, it is well known that the number of accidents cannot deliver statistically significant results if demonstrations are planned to run for a few months only. This difficulty will be circumvented via the intended development of risk indicators and models that may be fed with real traffic data. The risk indicators measure the likelihood of an incident occurrence and they may therefore be used as a quantitative measure of success, even without actual accident occurrence. Targeted measurable improvements with regard to risk indicators will be defined during the project’s lifetime, after the development and validation of such indicators.


By acting on the key elements of the safety and efficiency architecture, REACT will be suitably positioned to respond to the ambitious European Commission objectives:

  • Vehicle: REACT will improve vehicle safety through the development, installation and integration of advanced devices in the vehicle such as visibility sensors, road friction sensors, traffic sensors and speed information.
  • Driver: REACT will act on driver behaviour by displaying secure and personalised human machine interface (HMI) alerts concerning safety (risk of black ice, speed warnings, etc) and efficiency (route and traffic condition messages)
  • Infrastructures: REACT’s central server will merge infrastructure sensor information to monitor and enhance road safety and congestion information to be delivered to drivers when available
  • Public Administration: it is the basic pillar to impulse the system (by regulation, funding, bring interests together, etc.)

The REACT project has the potential of reducing traffic fatalities, increasing road transport efficiency, and contributing to greater standardisation and harmonisation throughout Europe with:

  • economic and societal impact: reducing traffic fatalities, improving transportation efficiency, etc.
  • technological impact: integrating mobile sensors with a central analytic and decision-making system, and utilising effective communications.


REACT operating principles
REACT operating principles
© REACT consortia

REACT work breakdown
REACT work breakdown
© REACT consortia