Ford to lead data-driven road safety project

Data from connected vehicles and roadside sensors are being used to develop a predictive road safety tool aimed at making urban travel safer and easier. 

road safety
Ford trials tech to help foresee traffic incidents; connects cars and sensors to improve road safety (Image: Ford Motor Company)

A consortium led by Ford is developing the Data-Driven Road Safety Tool, which will receive added input from local-authority data to predict the likely locations and possible root causes of potential road safety hotspots. According to Ford, the insights will enable cities to take pre-emptive action to address roads and junctions that pose the highest risks to road users.

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“Soon every new vehicle will be a connected vehicle, and we see this as an opportunity to reduce road traffic incidents and save lives in a significant way,” said Jon Scott, project lead, City Insights, Ford Mobility, Europe. “By collaborating with leading innovators, experts and academics – and with the backing of Innovate UK – we truly believe we can help improve mobility for millions around the world.”

Ford Mobility is working alongside partners including Oxfordshire County Council, AI sensor specialists Vivacity Labs, and Loughborough University’s Transport Safety Research Centre, with support from Transport for London.

Up to 700 passenger and commercial vehicles will be voluntarily connected across Oxfordshire and London as part of the 18-month project starting this summer.

Detailed telematics data from the fleet of vehicles – such as brake or accelerator pedal usage and steering wheel angle – will be analysed alongside information from up to 25 additional smart sensors to be provided in Oxfordshire by Vivacity Labs, bringing the total number in use to 100.

Experts from the Transport Safety Research Centre at Loughborough University and Ford’s Global Data Insight and Analytics team will analyse driver and vehicle data, while Oxfordshire County Council will focus on how local authority-provided data sources combined with the predictive tool can improve road safety.

According to Ford, the insights and analysis will be used to further prove and develop the digital road safety algorithm and tool into a scalable, commercial product. The consortium will also seek to uncover further real-world applications for predictive road safety-related insights.

The project follows two trials in London in which analysts and data scientists from Ford Mobility sampled over one million miles of driving by connected vehicles to identify, analyse and provide detailed safety mitigation guidance to local authorities on various road safety hotspots in Greater London..

Recommendations for improvements included the introduction of red-light cameras to deter signal jumping, cutting back vegetation to ensure road signage was clearly visible, double-height signage and signals, and resurfacing carriageways. Ford Mobility is also working with authorities in Cologne and Valencia to identify further ways in which analysis of information connected vehicles and infrastructure can benefit urban mobility.

Vehicle owners in Oxfordshire and London who wish to find out more about participating in the road safety trial can contact the project team at