No crash test ‘dummies’
In suburban Kent Town, just east of the city of Adelaide, researchers from the University of Adelaide are spending their days ensuring the safety of every pedestrian on our roads.
With pedestrians accounting for 16.5 percent of all road fatalities in Australia, and 8.5 percent of all serious injuries, this work is vital in reducing the road toll and safeguarding our communities.
The Vehicle Safety Laboratory, purpose-built by the University’s Centre for Automotive Safety Research (CASR), is the only facility of its kind in Australia, and one of the most advanced in the world.
Among other projects, the laboratory is the official testing facility for the pedestrian component of the Australasian New Car Assessment Program (ANCAP), a consortium of Australian and New Zealand car clubs, State government departments and motor injury authorities.
The University has been working with ANCAP since 2000 to improve the pedestrian safety of new vehicles entering the Australasian market, and to reduce the number of pedestrian fatalities.
The team is grateful for ANCAP’s ongoing support of CASR’s research and its significant role in the Laboratory’s 2010 relocation to its state of the art Kent Town premises.
Since the partnership began, the Centre has tested more than 160 new vehicles, measuring the risk of injury to pedestrians in a collision with the front of the vehicle. It can simulate pedestrians of all shapes and sizes—from young children to the elderly.
The Laboratory, operating since 1999, is a major component of the Centre’s research into pedestrian safety, and has allowed CASR to expand its services and continue its crucial role in a significant part of ANCAP’s test program.
As Director Mary Lydon says, the Laboratory “puts the spotlight on protection offered to pedestrians by different vehicle structures and means we can measure improvements and differences in safety”.
As the community becomes more and more aware of the part vehicle design plays in road safety, the spotlight on the work being done in Kent Town—and the Centre’s research as a whole—is brightening.
So next time you walk your children to school, or cross a busy city street, reflect on these clever South Australians who are committed to making your journey as safe as it can be.