The Floow Starts Work on a New Project Designed to Provide Detailed Understanding of Road Risk

Sam Chapman - April 08th, 2020

The Floow, DfT and T-TRIG logos

At The Floow, we work hard to create a world leading understanding of risk which not only benefits our clients today through our telematics solutions looking at driver behaviour, but also positively influencing the future, through our work to understand risks associated with new mobility technologies and exploring the areas of road infrastructure risk not previously explored.

Last week, the Department for Transport published news of new Innovation Awards including funding for The Floow to work on “Telematics Road Safety – Road Assessment Program” (TRS-RAP) to use new technology and approaches to develop an improved understanding of road risk. The project seeks to address challenges by prototyping the use of vehicle behavioural data to better understand risk as a function of geography across the entire road network.

Currently, Road Assessment Programs (RAP) are used to help identify where roads are less safe by estimating underlying risk levels across the road infrastructure so that funding for improvements can be directed to the areas which are most in need of improvement. 

However, existing RAP’s use drive through video capture and coding to record road information which can be time consuming, and therefore are usually focused just on the most-used roads. These assessments provide risk estimations derived from manual and automated inspection that score road risks from local observations, and use prior feature associations to incidents, including crash records and academic work, to assign risk levels. An example of this is speeds only being observed from some fixed monitoring points along a route, or between two points with no data of speed changes between them. This data, although of strong value, only provides a small snapshot of how road infrastructure is actually used, and does not cover localised behaviour changes along an assessed route.

The TRS-RAP project which we will be working on aims to enhance RAP’s by looking at road risk and incidents in a new way. By using telematics to understand behaviours along the full road network and testing how this can help to better understand localised risk on the roads. This can enhance road risk understanding providing a more detailed understanding of localised geographical risk

The project will cover the entirety of the West Midlands, covering 11 key UK commercial centres including Birmingham, Coventry and the entire combined authority. By coupling government data on road incidents with an understanding of behavioural risk, collated through a fine-grained picture of vehicle behaviour within that region, we can aim to improve predictions of where incidents will more frequently occur.

We will use data science techniques and large-scale predictivity to evaluate the degree to which risk can be predicted more accurately with additional data of locational behaviour. All with the aim of making our roads safer and smarter for everyone.

As with all our innovation and R&D work, this project and it’s learnings will feed into the work we undertake on a day-to-day basis with our insurance clients. By developing a greater understanding of localised road risk, we can provide insurers with stronger insights into how driver’s behave on the roads as well as the areas where drivers can improve.

We’re very proud to have been awarded this funding by the UK’s Department for Transport to undertake the TRS-RAP project to not only try to improve the current RAP process but to also, create a better understanding of road risk through our telematics technology and innovative data science techniques.

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