22nd ESV, Washington, 2011

Relationship between pedestrian protection test protocols and a real scenario

Of the one and a half million accidents which occur in the Euro-15 area every year, and which cause nearly 40,000 deaths, pedestrians account for 15% of these, i.e. about 6,000 per year. The percentage of pedestrians killed in road accidents is about 12% for Canada, USA and Australia, while in Korea and Japan pedestrian fatalities account for as much as 30% and 40% of road deaths.

Organizations like Euro NCAP, EEVC and the new Regulation, together with vehicle manufacturers are seeking solutions through the development of advanced safety systems and accurate methods for testing these systems.IDIADA carried out two studies. The first one was divided into two parts:

  • Assessment of vehicle speed influence. 62 cases, collected by the municipal police and the Public Health Service Agency in which pedestrians were involved in accidents were studied in Barcelona city. 75.1% of accidents occurred during the day, with an ISS 4-5 level of injury, and an ISS 3-4 at night.

  • Study about speed as a cause of accidents. 75.3% of drivers made a braking avoidance maneuver. The average speed before the accident was 50.8 km/h and the impact average velocity was 24.78 km/h.

As a result, injury level related to vehicle speed was evaluated. The speed threshold between slight and severe injuries is at about 40 km/h. This value is very similar to the impact velocity used in the tests of organizations such as Euro NCAP.The objective of the second study was to test the influence of the vehicle front end on pedestrian head injuries in the case of run-over. To this end, several accident simulations were performed using the program MADYMO® in which a pedestrian’s head is impacted into a different point of the hood depending on the situation. The parameters changed in these simulations were as follows:

Simulation variables

Pedestrian speed [Km/]




Vehicle speed [Km/]




Vehicle class


Off-road 4x4

Roadster sports

Pedestrian position regarding the vehicle [%]




The head impact position changes according to vehicle category: collisions in compact and roadster sports cars take place within the limits set by Euro NCAP for adult head impactor while, in the off-road 4x4 class, some points are located below the lower limit for the adult head.

If the analysis focuses on the pedestrian's head impact angle and speed against the hood of the car, the following conclusions can be expounded:

  • For the same vehicle speed, impact speed and angle of the adult head against the hood are virtually unchanged although the pedestrian’s speed is different.

  •  If impact speed is higher, the collision involves worse consequences.

  • The shape of the front part of the vehicle is not decisive in the severity of pedestrian injuries.

Further testing is needed to verify that parameters defined by the EEVC, Euro NCAP or pedestrian Regulation are entirely valid.Through the analysis of actual accident data, we have verified that current pedestrian testing protocols are reliable enough to be taken into account when a vehicle pedestrian protection level is assessed.

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