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Blog Post

New Approaches to Road Safety - How Vianova uses connected vehicle data to create safer streets

Explore how Vianova is changing the way we should think about road safety. Learn about the benefits and challenges of using connected vehicle data and see how this data helps make smarter decisions, identify risks, and move closer to making our city streets safer towards Vision Zero.

Alexander Pazuchanics
Mar 20, 2024

The following blog post is an extract from our latest White Paper "New Approaches to Road Safety". To download it, please click here.

Why Talk About Road Safety?

The United States continues to head in the wrong direction, with traffic fatalities increasing by 18% over the past 4 years. In Europe, a decade of decline in roadway fatalities was halted in 2021, with deaths increasing by 6% over the prior year.

There are multiple reasons why collisions are increasing in the United States and the European Union. The move toward more active modes is producing great dividends in terms of quality of life and environmental sustainability. But it is also exposing the inadequacy of infrastructure for pedestrians and cyclists, with pedestrian motor vehicle crash fatalities increasing by 80% since reaching their low point in 2009 and accounting for 17% of crash fatalities.

Additionally, the changes in vehicle form have produced larger, heavier, deadlier vehicles, a trend likely to continue as electric vehicles and their large batteries represent a larger share of automobiles on the road.

Safe streets are core to our mission to use technology to create better cities. People’s perception of safety on the road affects their willingness to switch to active or more space-efficient modes such as walking, cycling, and shared mobility. In other words, unsafe roads are stunting global progress towards achieving decarbonization. We can’t hope to meet ambitious climate targets without reducing the frequency and severity of collisions, particularly in urban areas.

As a company sitting at the nexus of transportation and data, at Vianova we feel like we are uniquely positioned to contribute meaningfully to the discussion of new approaches to tackle road safety.

We work with dozens of cities in Europe and around the world, giving us a window into the mindset of some of the most forward-thinking governments in the world. We’ve been working with connected vehicle data since our founding, gaining an appreciation for how to use it to answer questions that traditional data collection might leave out.

The Vision Zero Approach

The modern road safety movement could be dated to the creation of the Vision Zero goal by the Swedish parliament in 1997. Both a genuine target and an ethical stance, Vision Zero takes the perspective that no deaths or serious injuries should occur on the roadway.

Vision Zero acknowledges the humanity (and fallibility) of drivers -
if collisions are going to occur, techniques are necessary to minimize their severity and their effects on the drivers and other travelers around.

The Vision Zero approach (though not necessarily always the results) has taken on increasing attention in recent years. A commitment to zero fatalities, often combined with a target year, is an increasing feature of city transportation plans across Europe and the United States.

Is Vision Zero an attainable, realistic goal?

The answer depends on the level of financial investment, political capital, and technological advancement cities and industries can make in the coming years. As low-hanging fruit opportunities disappear,

it becomes increasingly difficult to make progress and the need for more effective targeting becomes more important.

Our Road Safety Solution

The development of IoT (Internet of Things) technologies has introduced significantly easier access to data generated by connected vehicles. Vehicles such as cars, trucks, and vans are now equipped with a range of sensors that can provide data about positions, speeds, and headings, or the use of features such as windshield wipers, turn signals, and brakes. This type of data is available either directly from the vehicle manufacturer or from after-market fleet management services. Vianova works with data OEMs and data aggregators representing approximately 40 million vehicles generating data in the United States, as well as approximately 30 million vehicles generating data in Western Europe, representing a broad swath of vehicle makes and models.

Connected vehicle data is not limited to information about cars and trucks. Increasingly, the use of cellphone telematic data or on-vehicle sensors has introduced new data about the behaviors of pedestrians, cyclists, and micro-mobility users. This data is often less comprehensive but nevertheless provides insights into the density of vulnerable road users and some additional behavioral information.

There are several advantages to the use of connected data, particularly in comparison to empirical data collection (manual observations or the use of cameras or sensors). Empirical data collection cannot cost-effectively be done over a wide area, whereas connected vehicle data covers the entire geography in which vehicles travel. Additionally, empirical data collection typically does not allow the ability to go “backward in time”- it is not possible to collect data before you know that you want to collect it.

In contrast, connected vehicle data is being collected regardless of whether its use is known, providing the ability to go backward and evaluate time periods in the past. And because connected vehicle data is always collected, it represents observations of both abnormal and normal behavior, helping to better understand the ratio between behaviors.


The use of connected vehicle data in risk identification and safety development is an exciting and iterative new development. As a software as a service and data solutions as a service company, Vianova is excited to continue to improve on the use of new data sources to help make prioritization decisions easier and to better document improvements to the road network.

Achieving Vision Zero will take a comprehensive effort, incorporating new strategies and techniques to build safer streets for all travelers.

To learn more about our new approach to road safety, you can download our extensive white paper here.

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