Interact or counteract? Behavioural observation of interactions between vulnerable road users and autonomous shuttles in Oslo, Norway




automated shuttles, autonomous vehicles, driverless shuttles, road user interactions, vulnerable road users


The current paper presents the results of behavioural observations in a field experiment with automated shuttles in Oslo, Norway. Video observations were conducted at five fixed locations along a challenging 1.2 km automated shuttle line with varying traffic conditions. Observed interactions between vulnerable road users and automated shuttles were coded using a predefined codebook, which allowed a structured quantitative analysis. The paper identified several potentially risky types of situations in which the automated shuttles did not always behave according to the traffic rules. Generally, the automated shuttles failed to give way to pedestrians at pedestrian crossings in 26%–50% of the interactions. Right-turning shuttles failed to yield to cyclists going straight in 38% of the interactions at observation Site 1 (the only location where the automated shuttle takes a right turn). In majority of same direction interactions between cyclists and automated shuttles, the interactions resulted in the cyclist overtaking the automated shuttle, usually on the left-hand side. Generally, the paper found little evidence of road users trying to bully or otherwise take advantage of the defensive driving style of the automated shuttles and identified only a limited number of interactions in which a vulnerable road user behaved ignorant or aggressive towards the automated shuttles. In addition, the paper found very little indication of temporal effects that suggest changes in the interaction patterns over time.


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Author Biographies

Tim De Ceunynck, Vias institute, Belgium

Tim De Ceunynck is a freelance researcher whose research focus is mostly on road safety and innovative mobility. He has more than 10 years of experience and has worked before at Vias institute (Belgium) and the Transportation Research Institute of Hasselt University (Belgium). He also worked as a guest researcher at Lund University and at the Institute of Transport Economics (TØI). Tim De Ceunynck holds a double PhD in Transportation Sciences (Hasselt University, Belgium) and in Engineering (Lund University, Sweden). He also works as a mobility expert for the Limburg investment company LRM.

CRediT contribution: Conceptualization, Data curation, Formal analysis, Funding acquisition, Methodology, Writing—original draft

Brecht Pelssers, Vias institute, Belgium

Brecht Pelssers has his master's degree in transportation sciences with specialization in road safety. During the start of his career he worked for Vias institute (till 2021) working with evaluation of safety measures through video observations. Nowadays, he works for an engineering consultancy company Sweco and focus on applying guidelines and legislation, imposed by the authorities, on infrastructure projects.

CRediT contribution: Data curation, Investigation, Writing—review & editing

Torkel Bjørnskau, Institute of Transport Economics, Norway

Torkel Bjørnskau is a senior researcher with more than 30 years’ experience in traffic and transport safety research at the Institute of Transport Economics. He has been involved in numerous national and international research projects covering a broad range of safety relevant issues. From 2007 to 2021 Torkel Bjørnskau was chief research officer responsible for different research programs at the Institute of Transport Economics, focusing on behaviour and interactions in traffic, security issues, safety culture, automated driving, and general safety research.

CRedit contribution: Conceptualization, Funding acquisition, Investigation, Methodology, Project administration, Resources, Supervision, Writing—review & editing

Ole Aasvik, Institute of Transport Economics, Norway

Ole Aasvik is a researcher at the Institute of Transport Economics and PhD-candidate at the University of Oslo. He has done research on many transport-related topics such as cyclist safety, driver inattention, human behaviour and autonomous vehicles. His research includes the use of many different data sources, ranging from video to surveys and eye-trackers.

CRediT contribution: Resources, Writing—review & editing

Aslak Fyhri, Institute of Transport Economics, Norway

Aslak Fyhri is chief research officer for the Transport and Behaviour group at the department of Safety and the Environment at the Institute of Transport Economics (TØI). His background is in Environmental Psychology.  Current areas of interest are bicycling from a mobility and safety perspective, with a particular focus on e-bikes, risk perception and worry on transport, traffic safety for children and people’s perception of the local environment.

CRediT contribution: Resources, Writing—review & editing

Aliaksei Laureshyn, Lund University, Sweden

Aliaksei Laureshyn is Reader in Traffic Safety at Lund University, Sweden. His primary research interests deal with theory and practical use of pro-active methods in road safety analysis. He is an active member in several international committees and working groups related to the subject of Surrogate Measures of Safety (SMoS). Other research interests include emerging technologies for data collection in traffic, policy and practice in road safety work, particularly in the view of Vision Zero/Safe System paradigm.

CRediT contribution: Funding acquisition, Investigation, Methodology, Software, Supervision, Writing—review & editing

Carl Johnsson, Lund University, Sweden

Carl Johnsson is a postdoctoral researcher in traffic safety at Lund University, Sweden. His research includes pro-active safety evaluation of traffic situations using mostly observations made from video with a particular focus on vulnerable road users. Other research interest includes working with developing technologies for behavioural data collection such as mobility analysis of public areas using drones and behavioural studies using virtual reality simulation.

CRediT contribution: Investigation, Methodology, Software, Writing—review & editing

Marjan Hagenzieker, Delft University of Technology, the Netherlands

Marjan Hagenzieker is a professor at Delft University of Technology, the Netherlands. She graduated in experimental psychology and received her Doctorate (PhD) at Leiden University. Her research and education activities focus on the road safety effects of the transport system, with particular interest in road user behaviour aspects. Research topics include the safety of vulnerable road users (e.g. elderly, bicyclists), and road user interactions with in-vehicle technology, automated vehicles, and road infrastructure. She also holds a part time position at the Institute of Transport Economics (TØI) in Norway.

CRediT contribution: Funding acquisition, Supervision, Writing—review & editing

Heike Martensen, Vias institute, Belgium

Heike Martensen has been working at Vias institute since 2006 where she leads the data team of the Knowledge Center for Road Safety and Mobility. She had a leading role in several EC research projects (SafetyNet, DaCOTA, and SafetyCube) and she is a member of ETSC and IRTAD, where she has led the database working group, and conducted data review missions to IRTAD accession countries. Her work focuses on the safe mobility of elderly and vulnerable road users.

CRediT contribution: Supervision, Writing—review & editing


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How to Cite

De Ceunynck, T., Pelssers, B., Bjørnskau, T., Aasvik, O., Fyhri, A., Laureshyn, A., … Martensen, H. (2022). Interact or counteract? Behavioural observation of interactions between vulnerable road users and autonomous shuttles in Oslo, Norway. Traffic Safety Research, 2, 000008.