The USDOT Releases Motorcycle Safety and ITS Gap Analysis Report

The U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) has recently published a report highlighting the relationship between motorcycles and intelligent transportation systems (ITS). The report, Motorcycle Safety and Intelligent Transportation Systems Gap Analysis, explores the potential of improving motorcycle safety through ITS.

ITS present an array of promising ways to improve motorcycle safety. While ITS technologies have predominantly targeted automobiles and commercial vehicles, little has been done to specifically address motorcycles or motorcycle safety. To help rectify this, this project surveyed a wide range of ITS technologies with potential relevance to motorcycles; analyzed each technology's current relevance to motorcycles and potential to improve motorcycle safety; and then further investigated those technologies with strong potential to improve motorcycle safety. The project employed a two-pronged methodology in its survey of ITS technologies:

  • A comprehensive literature review of over 40 categories of ITS with potential relevance to motorcycles
  • Interviews with leading practitioners representing a cross section of the motorcycle industry and community.

The literature review and the practitioner interviews each revealed a series of trends and gaps in the current state of research on motorcycle safety and ITS, which are documented and discussed in the report. The project then synthesized these trends and gaps to determine the overall trends and gaps, as well as the opportunities to advance ITS technology for motorcycle safety. These opportunities were translated into recommended areas of research and recommended strategies to advance both these areas of research and the overall field of ITS as it relates to motorcycle safety.

The recommended areas of research include synergizing ITS technology and implementation with the already-successful technology of antilock braking systems in motorcycles; rider-motorcycle interfaces; motorcycle safety data (including preparations to take full advantage of big data moving forward); applied research and assessments of safety benefits; and the harmonization of ITS technologies and standards (e.g., interoperable connected vehicles). The recommended strategies include actively promoting research on motorcycle ITS and exploring synergies with closely related research; engaging the motorcycle community and general public to improve the design and acceptance of motorcycle ITS; embracing upcoming technology (particularly connected vehicles and big data applications); and collaborating with all sectors and stakeholders to promote ITS harmonization and widespread implementation.

For more information, download the full report.