Drive for safety

September 2006

Bus driverA KTP partnership led to the development of a simulator for new bus drivers, a psychometric driver assessment, and safety guidelines at bus depots - resulting in substantial cost savings for Arriva Passenger Services.

A partnership between Cranfield University and Arriva Passenger Services, sponsored by the ESRC and the Technology Strategy Board, aimed to improve bus driver training and safety awareness, and create a safety culture throughout the Arriva organisation.

Three researchers worked on three separate but interrelated projects: the development of a prototype bus driving simulator for novice drivers, the design of an online psychometric assessment to measure driver attitudes underpinning decision-making, and an investigation of Arriva's safety culture with recommendations for management and driver supervisor training.

Impact

  • In the three years following the completion of the programme (the simulator, driver risk assessment, safety guidelines and courses), the number of fault accidents involving Arriva bus drivers reduced by 6.5 per cent, and non-fault accidents reduced by 3.5 per cent. The number of fatal accidents fell by 31 per cent.
  • In the same period, Arriva's accident claims decreased by over £1 million.
  • Staff turnover reduced from 24 per cent to 20 per cent, and absenteeism decreased from 6.1 per cent to 4.5 per cent.
  • The project has paved the way to greater levels of safety across the passenger services industry. In November 2004 Arriva and Cranfield received the International Prince Michael Award for Road Safety in recognition of their efforts to improve safety and driving standards.
  • DriverMetrics, a spinout company wholly owned by Cranfield University, is exploiting the commercial potential of the psychometrically based Bus Driver Risk Index (BDRI) developed during one of the KTP projects. Over 50 organisations and thousands of drivers in the UK and several other countries currently use DriverMetrics to risk-assess several different types of driver groups, including bus drivers, police drivers and fleet drivers.
  • The KTP programme enabled Cranfield University to launch a highly successful continuing professional development short course, Managing Human Factors in Driving. The university also used the KTP research to help develop the world's first MSc in Driver Behaviour and Education.

Further information