Digital Reconstitution of Road Traffic Accidents: A Flexible Methodology Relying on UAV Surveying and Complementary Strategies to Support Multiple Scenarios

Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2020 Mar 13;17(6):1868. doi: 10.3390/ijerph17061868.


The reconstitution of road traffic accidents scenes is a contemporary and important issue, addressed both by private and public entities in different countries around the world. However, the task of collecting data on site is not generally focused on with the same orientation and relevance. Addressing this type of accident scenario requires a balance between two fundamental yet competing concerns: (1) information collecting, which is a thorough and lengthy process and (2) the need to allow traffic to flow again as quickly as possible. This technical note proposes a novel methodology that aims to support road traffic authorities/professionals in activities involving the collection of data/evidences of motor vehicle collision scenarios by exploring the potential of using low-cost, small-sized and light-weight unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV). A high number of experimental tests and evaluations were conducted in various working conditions and in cooperation with the Portuguese law enforcement authorities responsible for investigating road traffic accidents. The tests allowed for concluding that the proposed method gathers all the conditions to be adopted as a near future approach for reconstituting road traffic accidents and proved to be: faster, more rigorous and safer than the current manual methodologies used not only in Portugal but also in many countries worldwide.

Keywords: photogrammetry; reconstitution; road traffic accidents; unmanned aerial systems.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Accidents, Traffic*
  • Data Collection
  • Law Enforcement*
  • Portugal
  • Surveys and Questionnaires