Image credit (above and below): Chris Fossey Phtotography
An innovative project, harnessing satellite imagery to understand road network safety has been recognised by the Prince Michael International Road Safety Awards.
With funding from the World Bank’s Global Road Safety Facility (GRSF), iRAP and Agilysis delivered a ground-breaking research and development project to mine innovative data sources for road safety in Africa, in support of the African Road Safety Observatory (ARSO).
Novel sources of satellite and street imagery data were combined with cutting edge machine learning approaches to map where 75% of road travel occurs across Kenya and Ethiopia.
The project also developed technology to detect vehicle speeds, flow and other road features that are critical for the measuring and monitoring of road safety indicators.
There is a clear challenge of collecting relevant safety data in many countries; doing so consistently and comparably between countries is even harder.
Agilysis leveraged a variety of crowdsourced and open data from various platforms, plus satellite images from MAXAR’s ARD platform to assess more than a dozen different road attributes.
In recognising the project for this prestigious award, the judges commented that it was, “An extremely innovative project and ground-breaking for those working in LMICs, it expands on existing initiatives that have proven to be effective in increasing road safety across the world.”
Speaking about the award, Agilysis CEO, Richard Owen said, “This project brought together several years of research and development to develop an approach that works at scale. We now have the tools and expertise to conduct rapid analyses of national networks to understand key safety features.”
iRAP, the International Road Assessment Programme, who oversaw the project and evaluated the output data established that several the key metrics were being measured accurately and consistently, recognising the approach with accreditation under their AiRAP programme.
Commenting on the project’s outcomes, iRAP Global Technical Director James Bradford said, “We are working to support national governments and regional observatories in collecting vital data to help prioritise investment. New approaches like the ones explored in this project represent a major leap forward in developing data for national indicators and supporting the UN voluntary targets.”
The advanced computer vision techniques mean that the project has gone beyond national level indicators and produced road level data on the following thirteen attributes:
- Mean Vehicle Operating Speed;
- 85th Percentile Vehicle Operating Speed;
- Average Annual Daily Traffic (AADT);
- Land Use;
- Area Type;
- Speed Limit;
- Carriageway Separation;
- Pedestrian Presence;
- Pedestrian Crossing Facilities;
- Pedestrian Crossing Signage;
- Street Lighting; and
- Intersection Type.
The project was made possible because of the partnership with MAXAR and the innovations in their Analysis Ready Data (ARD) platform which facilitated access to the relevant earth observation data. ARD’s pre-processed image stacks allowed the research team to procure data based on highly specified geospatial plots, reducing waste and dramatically increasing process efficiency to analyse the images.
Following the completion of the project in Summer 2023, the approach has already been used by Agilysis to deliver data for clients working in South America, Africa, South Asia, and Oceania.
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Dan Campsall, Chairman
Phone: +44 1295 731 812
Richard Owen, CEO
Phone: +44 1295 731 815
James Bradford, Global Technical Director
Agilysis was set up by an experienced team, all of whom have nearly twenty years invested in transport safety. Blending expertise in research, policy and practice. Leveraging big data analytics and novel approaches Agilysis is contributing to pioneering international research as well as providing consultancy and intervention design based on evidence from a range of disciplines in the transport and health domains. Find out more at https://agilysis.co.uk/
iRAP is a registered charity with the vision for a world free of high-risk roads. The charity is active in over 100 countries and works with governments, development banks, mobility clubs, research organisations and road safety NGOs to provide them with the free tools, systems and training to make their roads safer. iRAP’s Star Rating Methodology provides a simple and objective measure of the level of safety which is ‘built-in’ to the road for vehicle occupants, motorcyclists, bicyclists and pedestrians. A 1-star road is the least safe and a 5-star road is the safest. The charity has influenced the safety of over USD$80 billion dollars of infrastructure investment, has Star Rated over 1.3 million kms and Risk Mapped over 1.6 million kms of road, and trained over 54,000 people globally. iRAP is the umbrella programme for regional road assessment programmes including EuroRAP, ChinaRAP, AusRAP, usRAP, KiwiRAP, IndiaRAP, BrazilRAP, South Africa RAP, ThaiRAP and MyRAP and is financially supported by the FIA Foundation. Find out more at https://irap.org/
About the Africa Road Safety Observatory
The African Road Safety Observatory (ARSO) initiative was launched in 2018. With the ultimate goal of building a robust body of data that can be used to monitor Africa’s road safety performance and improve decision making. Find out more at https://ssatp.org/topics/african-road-safety-observatory