SWOV Catalogus

340037

Social forgivingness and vulnerable road users. Paper presented at Walk21-XI, “Getting Communities Back on their Feet : Promising approaches to support walking for a sustainable future”, The 11th International Conference on Walking and Liveable Communities, The Hague, The Netherlands, November 16-19, 2010.
20141277 ST [electronic version only]
Houtenbos, M.
In: Proceeding Walk21-XI, “Getting Communities Back on their Feet : Promising approaches to support walking for a sustainable future”, The 11th International Conference on Walking and Liveable Communities, The Hague, The Netherlands, November 16-19, 2010, 9 p., 4 ref.

Samenvatting Pedestrians and cyclists are especially vulnerable in their interactions with motorized vehicles. The Sustainable Safety vision of road safety has incorporated five principles that help to keep (vulnerable) road users safe. To achieve this, the original vision made use of three principles for the organization of the traffic system: functionality, homogeneity, and recognizability. These principles were to ensure that people commit fewer errors, so that serious injury will be less frequent. One of the newer principles is "social forgivingness" which focuses on the interactive aspect of participating in traffic. By anticipating on the developing traffic situation and being "socially forgiving", road users can prevent another road users' behaviour having undesired consequences. The paper provides an introduction to social forgivingness and explains how it fits into the vision of a sustainably safe road traffic. In addition, some relevant factors from (mainly psychological) literature are discussed. These internal and external factors pertain to being able and willing to act socially forgiving as well as to the impact the setting (road environment in which the interaction takes place) might have on social forgivingness. In a recent report, SWOV Institute for Road Safety Research has investigated how and when social forgivingness can be found in traffic behaviour. Although the focus was mainly on studying how social forgivingness could be identified based on observable actions of road users, the research also focused on the influence of differently designed road environments. Two studies were conducted. The first study involved a video analysis of road users interacting in different settings. These settings differed with respect to the degree in which the interaction between road users was regulated by formal traffic elements. An intersection designed according to Shared Space principles was considered less regulated than the previous, more traditional, design of the intersection. The second study involved a questionnaire that showed respondents short video's from a car driver's point of view. Each video portrayed a certain dilemma situation in which a car driver could be inclined to react socially forgiving towards a cyclist or pedestrian. Each dilemma was presented in both a more (traditional) and less (Shared Space) regulated traffic setting. Besides providing ideas concerning how social forgivingness can be identified, the results of the study also provide insights into the new principle within Sustainable Safety and provide indications how social forgivingness can help to sustain safe participation in traffic for vulnerable road users such as pedestrians and cyclists. The paper addresses the effect of the degree of regulation of the traffic setting on social forgivingness. (Author/publisher)
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