Assessing the perceived safety risk from quiet electric and hybrid vehicles to vision impaired pedestrians (PPR 525)

  • Published: Transport Research Laboratory, 2011
  • Authors: P. Morgan, L. Morris, M. Muirhead, L. Walter and J. Martin
  • Date Added: 02 Feb 2013
  • Last Update: 25 Oct 2016
  • Format: html


To investigate the RTI risk posed by electric and hybrid vehicles due to their low noise.


Consideration of RTI statistics and practical testing of vehicle noise outputs.

Key Findings:

  • Relative to the total number of registered vehicles, hybrid / electric vehicles were equally likely to be involved in an RTI with a pedestrian as conventionally powered vehicles. However, proportionally more RTIs for hybrid / electric vehicles involve hitting a pedestrian.

  • Hybrid / electric vehicles increase pedestrian risk exposure, when measured by audibly detectable distance.


Electric vehicle, hybrid vehicle, audible, pedestrian risk


Study appears to be relatively robust, although sample numbers for RTIs involving hybrid / electric vehicles are small owing to these vehicles small share of the UK fleet. Some indicative evidence that lower noise vehicles will increase risk to pedestrians (particularly partially sighted).