News - Two FEHRL members win EU Champions of Transport Research competition

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Forum of European National Highway Research Laboratories

Two FEHRL members win EU Champions of Transport Research competition

Astrid Linder of VTI is overall winner and winner of Road, while Eugene O'Brien of UCD wins cross-modal award at TRA2014.


Dr Astrid Linder of VTI was the Winner of the Road category as well as the Overall Winner of the EU Champions of Transport Research competition. She won thanks to the EvaRID (Eva female, RID - Rear Impact Dummy), the world's first virtual crash test dummy representing an average female.

The project has achieved extensive scientific impact worldwide by introducing revolutionary knowledge to the field of occupant dummy models used for assessing and developing enhanced protective systems for vehicles. In additoon, the world’s first virtual model of an average female crash test dummy was developed by Dr. Linder and her team in the ADSEAT project and it is already commercially available. The model, EvaRID, has made it possible, for the first time in the history of crash testing, to address occupant protection for both an average female and average male. The results of the project have caught the attention of policy makers in the area of consumer testing, as well as in the industry developing vehicles and safety systems.

A joint effort between the partners involved in the ADSEAT project in combination with the funding received from the European Commission made it possible for Dr Linder and her team to establish opportunities for the development of future vehicle safety systems that are suitable for assessing male and female risk alike. However, models representing both males and females are necessary in order to develop safety systems appropriate for both genders. The commercially available virtual dummy model of an average female, EvaRID, as well as the prototype hardware model, in need of further development, created in the ADSEAT project symbolises a unique initial step in the direction towards gender equality in vehicle safety. These models have been used as research tools in conjunction with the current low severity rear impact model of an average male, BioRID, when assessing the safety performance of car seats. Research results achieved by Dr. Linder and the ADSEAT project show how vehicle safety assessment can be improved and have the potential to influence consumer and legislation testing, and thus reduce the risk of soft tissue neck injuries in the future.

Meanwhile, Professor Eugene O'Brien of UCD has won the cross-modal award. Over the course of several EU funded projects, Prof O'Brien’s research has resulted in infrastructures that have been made more sustainable by extending their lives through the quantification of risks, especially the risk of bridges being overloaded. It has been made more seamless: safer by developing methods to improve the consistency of safety throughout the bridge stock and less disruptive to travellers by extending the times between maintenance interventions. Extending the lives of infrastructures also makes transportation more competitive as it reduces cost. This research has developed road pavement and railway track deterioration models that can be used to predict the remaining service life of these infrastructures. These allow for more cost efficient maintenance planning, preventing overdesign while ensuring that pavements and track are sufficient to remain in service for their entire design life.

In Ireland, Prof O'Brien’s work on Weigh-in­-Motion has resulted in an increase in the allowable gross weight of 6­-axle trucks from 44 to 46 tonnes. His company demonstrated that the increase would have little effect on the risk of overload on bridges and, by encouraging a shift from 5 to 6 axles, would have the positive benefits of reducing the cost of transport, reducing the fuel consumption per tonne of freight and reducing cumulative damage to road pavements.

At European and the world level, his research on bridge traffic loading is identifying the nature of vehicles that govern the safety of bridges - these findings have made it possible to keep many bridges in these countries in service for much longer. The result is a bridge stock with a longer average bridge life, reducing the carbon footprint of bridges and reducing the demand for non-­renewable materials.



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