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Several activities regarding pedestrian research are ongoing at VRTC. Research can be separated into three areas, all interconnected and directed toward increasing the understanding of the pedestrian/vehicle interaction environment in collisions:

  • Component-Based Test Procedure Development
  • Mathematical Modeling of Pedestrian/Vehicle Collisions
  • Reconstructions of Accident Cases

The ultimate objective of this research is to provide valuable information that can be used to design vehicles that are less aggressive toward pedestrians in collisions. It has been shown in past research that vehicle parameters such as more clearance to underhood engine components, streamlined front ends, energy-absorbent bumpers, and laminated windshields result in less severe injuries to pedestrians when they are struck. Research at VRTC is focused on assisting in the development of internationally harmonized test procedures using head and leg devices to impact statistically common locations on vehicle fronts such as the bumper, hood, windshield, and A-pillars.

Human body and dummy mathematical models are being developed and validated with actual human data from previous studies. These models can be used to provide information such as the head impact speed and angle resulting from the interaction of a certain vehicle shape such as an SUV with a particular model size. This information can then be used to apply the necessary head device impact velocity and angle when evaluating the particular vehicle shape in laboratory component tests. The most significant advantage of using mathematical models is the potential to do thousands of simulations in a relatively short amount of time, increasing the efficiency for evaluating pedestrian aggressiveness of vehicle shapes and stiffness properties. Of course, the model must be very accurate to use exclusively, and reconstructing injuries and vehicle damage of actual cases through both full-scale dummy tests and component/simulation tests is the best way to evaluate the biofidelity of a model, component device, or test dummy.

The driving force behind this research is the International Harmonization Research Activities Pedestrian Safety Working Group (IHRA PS WG). Government and industry representatives from the United States, Europe, Japan, and Australia are working together to develop these test procedures and exchange new information about pedestrian biomechanics research.

Recent Publications:

U.S. Department of Transportation National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
Washington, DC 20590
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