The VIRTUAL cost-benefit calculation tool was presented in a poster presentation at the TRA Conference in Lisbon last week. The tool is aimed at calculating the socio-economic costs and benefits of vehicle safety systems. It provides insight in the costs of vehicle safety systems, the safety impacts, quality of life gains, monetary benefits and socio-economic return. The tool serves to support road safety stakeholders in making decision on developing, introducing and implementing (new) vehicle safety systems or new regulation and legislation.
The VIRTUAL cost-benefit tool includes several novel elements as compared to standard cost-benefit analysis in the field of road safety. A linkage with Human Body Models is established to estimate the impacts of vehicle safety systems on injury probability and severity. A detailed classification of 39 injury groups is used to assess these safety impacts. Furthermore, the safety impacts are translated into quality of life gains and monetary benefits, using the concept of QALYs (Quality Adjusted Life Years).
The tool has been applied in several cost-benefit case studies:
- Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB) systems, aimed at preventing car-pedestrian and car-cyclist collisions or reduce injury severity.
- Improved seat designs in passenger cars, aimed at reducing whiplash associated disorders.
- Improved tram fronts to reduce the severity of tram-pedestrian injuries.
Wim Wijnen | W2Economics (VIRTUAL project partner) gave a live demonstration of the tool at the TRA.