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Cranfield and Arriva gain award for bus driver safety research

10 March 2008

Cranfield University’s work with transport services group Arriva to improve bus driving standards and passenger safety has been acknowledged with a prestigious Knowledge Transfer Partnerships (KTP) Award 2008.

The award, for Best Application of Social or Management Science, recognises the outcome of a fruitful research partnership. Under the scheme, Cranfield and Arriva’s UK bus business took on a four-year task to reduce accident rates through the psychometric assessment of bus drivers, design a simulator to train new bus drivers and embed a culture of safety at bus depots.

The project was successful on all three counts, resulting in the first prototype bus-driving simulator of its kind in the UK . Along with other risk management strategies, the research programme contributed to a £1 million per year reduction in insurance claims at Arriva’s UK bus business and an annual reduction in fault accidents of 6.5% over the four year period. Staff turnover and absenteeism were also reduced.

Three research associates – Helen Muncie, Lucy Garwood and Lolli Mankazana – worked with Cranfield’s Driving Research Group headed by Dr Lisa Dorn

Cranfield’s Driving Research Group is unique in the UK , applying scientific research and knowledge in order to deliver more effective training for professional drivers. In particular, organisations that employ occupational drivers under pressure to meet recruitment, training and operational schedules and targets. The Driving Research Group is headed by Dr Lisa Dorn. The DRG has expert knowledge in and experience of conducting research concerned with road safety. The DRG also houses the work of DriverMetrics which is a trading component of a parallel company wholly owned by the university called Cranfield Engineering Innovations Ltd (CEIL). DriverMetrics is an online driver risk assessment using psychometric principles for driver recruitment and selection. Further information is available here.

Arriva is one of the largest private sector providers of passenger transport in mainland Europe, employing more than 37,000 people and providing more than one billion passenger journeys every year. Arriva provides transport services including buses, trains, commuter coaches and water buses, and operates in 10 European countries: Czech Republic, Denmark, Italy, Germany, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Poland and the UK .

Knowledge Transfer Partnerships is a Technology Strategy Board Programme, enabling innovation in business. The role of lead sponsor for Knowledge Transfer Partnerships transferred from the Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills (formerly Dti) to the new Technology Strategy Board in July 2007. The Technology Strategy Board is a business led, executive non-departmental public body, established by the Government. Its mission is to promote and support research into, and development and exploitation of, technology and innovation for the benefit of UK business, in order to increase economic growth and improve the quality of life.