Pete Thomas


Pete Thomas is the Professor of Road and Vehicle Safety at Loughborough University and Director of the Transport Safety Research Centre. The Centre has a team of over 20 people who conduct research to develop new road and vehicle safety measures and to evaluate the performance in the real-world. The Team was awarded the prestigious Queens Anniversary Award in 2007 for its work. In the 2008 RAE over 55% of its research was assessed as being world leading. In 2013 the TSRC was also awarded the Prince Michael of Kent International Road Safety Award for its work on the European Road Safety Observatory.


Pete is a leading figure in the development of road and vehicle safety policy resources and has led the establishment of the European Road Safety Observatory. He has advised the European Commission on its Road Safety Policy Orientations to 2020 and has co-ordinated several large research projects to gather and analyse accident and safety data which together had a value of around €20 m.


A particular emphasis of Pete’s research has been the in-depth investigation of crash and injury causation and more recently the impact of new technologies on driving behaviour; his team has led the field and has directly investigated over 20,000 collisions. The large databases it has developed are now routinely used for a wide range of research and policy-making purposes.


Most recently Pete’s team has been conducting new research into the safety behaviours of drivers and other road users. New experimental methods are being used to unobtrusively observe the actions and responses of drivers under normal driving conditions. These methods are being used to develop real-time coaching resources that drivers can use to examine their driving behaviour and to identify ways to make improvements.


Pete is a specialist in the area of accident and injury causation, publishing over 150 research papers on a broad range of vehicle safety issues, including active safety systems, injury biomechanics and causation, crash test procedures and accident data analysis. His particular areas of interest include research into an evidenced-based procedure to characterise effective intelligent transport systems for optimum casualty reduction and the application of new technologies in accident research to simulate driver behaviour and improve pre-crash sensing capabilities.


Since 2013 Pete’s responsibilities have broadened to include the area of intelligent mobility, of which new safety technologies form a part. The research field includes human-machine interface evaluations, monitoring and outcomes assessment of ITS and systems integration of vehicle and infrastructure technologies. He is closely involved in the development and evaluation of automated driving systems and he is the academic lead of Loughborough University’s partnership with the Transport Systems Catapult.