Interactions between vulnerable road users and automated vehicles: A synthesis of literature and framework for future research

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Partially and fully automated vehicles (AVs) are being developed and tested in different countries. These vehicles are being designed to reduce and ultimately eliminate the role of human drivers in the future. Most fatal accidents of vulnerable road users (VRUs), pedestrians, cyclists and mopeds, involve a motorized vehicle. In addition, most of the accidents involving VRUs and motorized vehicles happen at road crossings. By replacing human-driven vehicles with automated vehicles, the human role will be altered and reduced which could lead to an increase in traffic safety. However, drivers are not the only ones who will have to adapt to automated vehicles, other road users, such as pedestrians and cyclists, will have to interact with vehicles with various levels of automation, too. Pedestrians and cyclists will still be humans and might behave in an unpredictable manner which could lead to unsafe behaviors. The main goal of this paper is to propose a theoretical framework which describes the interactions between automated vehicles and road user behavior under different road design conditions. This is a prerequisite to understand how to design safe urban environments where VRUs and automated vehicles can interact safely. A synthesis of the existing literature about the interactions between automated vehicles and VRUs, and the main factors that could influence VRUs’ behavior is presented. The results of the synthesis and the identified knowledge gaps are discussed. Based on this, a theoretical framework for the interactions between VRUs and automated vehicles is developed and discussed.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the Road Safety and Simulation International Conference 2017
Subtitle of host publication16-19 October 2017, The Hague, the Netherlands
Number of pages12
Publication statusPublished - 2017
EventRSS2017: Road Safety and Simulation International Conference 2017 - Grand Hotel Amrâth Kurhaus, The Hague, Netherlands
Duration: 17 Oct 201719 Oct 2017


ConferenceRSS2017: Road Safety and Simulation International Conference 2017
Abbreviated titleRSS 2017
CityThe Hague
OtherThe Road Safety and Simulation conference series was established in Rome in 2007, and has since then provided a bi-annual platform for researchers and professionals from various disciplines to share their expertise and latest insights in the field of road safety and simulation. Delft University of Technology (TU Delft) is delighted to host the 2017 Road Safety and Simulation (RSS) international conference. RSS2017 will be organised in collaboration with the Dutch Institute for Road Safety Research (SWOV). The RSS2017 conference covers a wide area of topics. Furthermore we introduce a special theme focusing on advancing the safety of all road users with special attention for vulnerable road users. Especially, in the upcoming era of advanced technologies and vehicle automation new safety challenges have emerged. The road infrastructure design plays a critical role in accommodating these challenges.
Internet address


  • Automated Vehicles
  • Vulnerable Road Users
  • Interactions
  • Urban Environments
  • Theoretical Framework


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