Institute for Transport Studies (ITS)

XCYCLE - fairer, safer cycling

The Institute’s expertise in road safety is contributing to a new European project to make our roads a better place for cyclists.

Cyclists account for a disproportionate share of serious road injuries and fatalities, and the problem is not improving. In contrast to other broadly positive trends in road safety, cyclists in many countries remain a stable or growing share of serious traffic accidents, at a rate 7-9 times higher than car travel. Around 2000 European cyclists are killed every year, with a significant proportion involving collisions with motorized vehicles at junctions. Part of the problem is fairness - cyclists are rarely treated equally by traffic systems, with vehicles often taking priority.

Funded by the EU’s Horizon 2020 programme, a key objective of the XCYCLE research project is to develop user-friendly technology to equalise the treatment of cyclists in traffic, thus both encouraging cycling and making cycling safer. This will involve developing systems for active and passive detection of cyclists, informing drivers and cyclists of hazards at junctions, and presenting information in vehicles. A strict user-centred approach will be adopted, with stakeholders (users, public bodies, entrepreneurs) involved in the collaborative assessment of the XCYCLE concept and objectives, as well as in the guidelines for deployment and validation. The effectiveness of the innovations will be tested in real-life operating conditions.  

The project is being delivered by a multidisciplinary consortium, drawing together a set of complementary organisations each with specific areas of expertise. Led by the University of Bologna, the capabilities of universities and national research institutes is being paired with industry expertise from Volvo and SMEs.

The project will also support the European policy objective of halving road deaths by 2020 and moving towards zero fatalities by 2050.