The potential of naturalistic driving for in-depth understanding of driver behavior: UDRIVE results and beyond
Journal article, 2019

Within the UDRIVE project, a rich cross-European naturalistic driving database was created which includes everyday driving data on car and truck drivers and powered two-wheeler riders. The database provides extensive, reliable insights into driving behavior in real traffic as a foundation for improving the safety and sustainability of European road traffic. This paper discusses the characteristics of the data in the UDRIVE database—elucidating key methodological choices and presenting a selection of results to date. A priority of the study design was obtaining in-depth information on driving behavior, permitting the exploration of diverse research questions. A tailor-made data acquisition system collected very comprehensive data. A total of 287 drivers/riders participated. The sample size restricts the addressable research topics to common behaviors in everyday driving and limits the generalizability of results. However, the data are extensive and promising analyses have already been performed. The results show differences between European countries for distracting activities, seatbelt use, and looking behavior towards cyclists at urban intersections. Moreover, it shows that European drivers engage less in mobile phone use than U.S. drivers. It is likely that European drivers differ in other ways, also—highlighting the dataset's value for developing and implementing targeted safety measures, for the E.U. and its individual countries. Based on the comparison of the different studies, the paper introduces the general conceptual framework for naturalistic driving studies, providing insight in the relation between the scope of a naturalistic driving study and the key methodological choices on sample selection and data acquisition system.

Naturalistic driving

Risky driving


Traffic safety


Framework for naturalistic driving studies

Driving behavior


Vulnerable road users


Nicole van Nes

SWOV Institute for Road Safety Research

Jonas Bärgman

Olycksanalys och prevention

Michiel Christoph

SWOV Institute for Road Safety Research

Ingrid van Schagen

SWOV Institute for Road Safety Research

Safety Science

0925-7535 (ISSN)

Vol. 119 11-20

eUropean naturalistic Driving and Riding for Infrastructure & Vehicle safety and Environment (UDRIVE)

European Commission (FP7), 2012-10-01 -- 2016-09-30.

Subject Categories

Transport Systems and Logistics

Infrastructure Engineering

Applied Psychology



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