Journey Optimisation by Safest Route

27 October 2015

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Interpret recently presented their recent work on ‘Journey Optimisation by Safest Route’ at the 2015 ACRS Conference in the Gold Coast. The research was undertaken as part of a Callaghan Innovation Student Experience Grant and explored the feasibility of incorporating safety data into a vehicle routing network. Dale Harris, Paul Durdin and student intern Hamish Kingsbury developed the website to help users identify the safest, shortest and fastest route to get to their destination. To date there has been little research into the integration of routing and safety – allowing road users to choose the safest, as well as the shortest and quickest routes.

Industries and businesses reliant on driving (such as logistics and distribution, tradespeople and taxi drivers) would benefit from a routing system designed to inform the relative risk of different route options while maintaining efficiency. With increasing dependence of fast, reliable and safe transport, the idea of taking safety into account is of interest to companies looking to reduce risk while minimizing distance and time costs. It also helps employers meet their workplace health and safety obligations.

The project used ARcGIS Network Analyst to develop the output. The Auckland region was the study area for the project as the region has sufficient data and urban and rural roads to feed into the project guidelines.  The project outcome was the development of an interactive website that allows users to choose and weight three routing variables that best meets their needs (travel time; distance and safety). The route that best meets their chosen priorities is then displayed on the screen. The sample output from the routing website displays the shortest (dashed red), the quickest (dotted blue) against the preferred route (solid green). Based on safety, distance and time priorities, the safest route (in green) is:

  • 69% safer than the shortest route (in red);
  • 88% safer then the quickest route (in blue);
  • 6% longer then the shortest route;
  • 15% slower than the quickest route.

The project demonstrates that there is potential for safety based vehicle routing systems. It supports a safe system approach to managing road safety risk associated with work related driving. The next step is to explore commercial opportunities including partnerships with interested public bodies and commercial vehicle routing services.