Thank you so much for your participation in the Symposium on 18th November, 2021.
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Venue: Online
Date: Thursday, November 18th, 2021
Host: International Association of Traffic and Safety Sciences (IATSS)

Opening Address

Kazuhiko Takeuchi
IATSS President
President, Institute for Global Environmental Strategies (IGES)
Project Professor, the University of Tokyo

Prof. Kazuhiko Takeuchi, President of International Association of Traffic and Safety Sciences, expressed his warm welcome to the 7th Global Interactive Forum on Traffic Safety (GIFTS2021) and his appreciation for the support of the International Road Federation and the Japan International Cooperation Agency. GIFTS, focused on the theme of “The Cultural Diversity in Traffic and Building of Safe Societies: Toward Common Vision” is convened to achieve a desirable transportation system through research related to traffic and traffic safety.


Since the International Association of Traffic and Safety Sciences (IATSS) founding in 1974, the situation surrounding global traffic has undergone drastic changes with the annual number of fatalities due to traffic accidents exceeding 1.2 million people, and it is trending toward further increases in the future. There is a need to address such matters over a broad range of fields, such as global warming, the development of sustainable cities, and the correction of social disparities. GIFTS has been working toward four long-term principles: global safety, an emphasis from the perspective of traffic culture, interdisciplinary approach, and having continuous joint discussions globally.


Prof. Takeuchi emphasized the need to broadly understand the background of the traffic policies and attitudes regarding the prioritization of policy goals of each country and region for spirited discussion on measures and policies. He then expressed his wishes for proactive participation and cooperation from the participants of the symposium.



Akihiro Nakamura
Professor, Faculty of Economics, Chuo University

Prof. Akihiro Nakamura, Chuo University, Chair of Global Interactive Forum Committee, expressed his gratitude to all participants for joining the meeting in an online platform to discuss traffic safety from a transdisciplinary perspective.


IATSS has been trying to understand the nature of the transportation society from various perspectives and as such it has hosted Global Interactive Forum on Traffic Safety six times. Participants from past symposium from various countries including the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Sweden, Denmark, India, South Africa, and Egypt, and it has also hosted people with on-the-ground experience from the World Bank, World Health Organization, Asian Development Bank, and other international organizations, leading to the sharing of a great deal of knowledge from a broad spectrum of perspectives and experiences.


The theme of last year’s symposium was “Diversity in Traffic Culture and Unsafe Behavior,” and it discussed road culture and explored road user behavior and the activities of people involved in road safety. The participants agreed that countries around the world should work together to promote better understanding of road safety culture and reduce road traffic accidents.


To build on those discussion IATSS created the platform called GRATS: Global Research Alliance on Traffic and Safety, and presented the “Common vision for reducing traffic accidents,” as its outcome. The theme of this year was “The Cultural Diversity in Traffic and Building of Safe Societies: Toward Common Vision” and it is to build on the discussion to date towards a common vision for reducing road traffic accidents.


Lecture 1

Akinori Morimoto
Civil and Environmental Engineering,
Waseda University Master of Engineering
Professional Engineer (Urban & Regional Planning)

Prof. Akinori Morimoto, presented as the Project leader of Global Research Alliance on Traffic and Safety (GRATS) in IATSS on the topic of “A Conceptual Framework for Road Traffic Safety: International Comparison and Future Challenges in Japan”. He explained that there are 1.35 million deaths in road traffic accidents which is the 8th leading cause of death for people of all ages. This number of road traffic deaths remains unacceptably high.


The trend of road traffic death has declined in Japan since 1966 due to significant achievements in technology and systems. The next step in the reductions of incidents would require a traffic safety culture approach.


Low- and middle-income countries should follow a framework to counteract the increasing trend for road traffic accidents which identifies common vision, indicators, safe systems, and traffic safety culture.


The approach of a safe system has been adopted in various countries that have the mission of “no one being killed or seriously injured by road crashes”. It builds on the technological approach by using comprehensive systems to reduce road traffic accidents, such as Sweden’s Vision Zero, which states that no one should be killed or seriously injured in road traffic accidents. Japan is also aiming for a society without traffic accidents. The overall plan of a safe system identifies that human error cannot be completely avoided and that all share a common responsibility to create a safe environment.


Towards this vision of a safe traffic society, there are several indicators wroth assessing such as the discovery of patterns of proneness to accidents, examination to identify drivers’ competence and fitness, providing immediate response to victims, and providing evaluation to contribute to safety intervention in the future. These indicators have been developed from the traditional three Es of traffic safety, namely, education, engineering, and enforcement.


The framework based on these indicators and investigated by GRATS show that road safety culture influences people’s behaviors and impacts the occurrence of road traffic accidents. This framework promotes a safe system approach involving safe speed, safe road users, safe vehicles, and safe roads and such safe systems approach has been adopted by Sweden through its Vision Zero policy, the Netherlands through its Sustainable Safety, and Australia through its Road Safety Strategy.


The UN General Assembly and the WHO released the Global Plan: Decade of Action for Road Safety 2021-2030 which incorporates the 3 Es: enforcement, education, engineering, and emergency and an integrated safe system approach with the goal of reducing deaths and injuries by road traffic accidents by at least 50%.


The most fundamental level of the framework after the implementation of safe systems is the adoption of a traffic safety culture. The US defines road traffic safety culture as “The shared values, actions, and behaviors that demonstrate a commitment to safety over competing goals and demands”. The adoption of such a culture combined with the safe systems and transformational leadership can result in lasting change to a society that is safer by nature and will be self-reinforcing.


Traffic accidents have increased as society moved from walking, to rail, and to automobiles. The next step is a human centered transportation system realized through seamless ICT such as Mobility as a Service and AI. Personal mobility could be served by autonomous cars and bicycles, and such systems can be connected into a broader public policy of city planning and environmental planning.


The government of Japan launched the 11th Fundamental Traffic Safety Program with the basic principle of “Ultimately, we aim to make a giant leap toward the realization of a society without traffic accidents and a traffic safety society that leads the world.” It aims to achieve the safest road traffic in the world, with less than 2,000 fatalities per 24 hours. To this end, JICA has implemented the Traffic Safety Platform Concept through the 4 Es to contribute to the international goal of halving the number of traffic accident fatalities and injuries in target countries by 2030. Such initiatives align with the Global Plan: Decade of Action for Road Safety 2021-2030, to involve all stakeholders such as academia, civil society, and youth towards the common goal and to be a source of road traffic safety information.


IATSS in order to contribute to the realization of an ideal mobile society founded GRATS to create a conceptual framework for road traffic safety. The framework for road traffic safety needs to be adopted at all levels including the political levels, scientific levels, practical levels, and the civic level to ensure the creation of a safe traffic society where no one is left behind.


Lecture 2

Nicholas J. Ward
Director of the Center for Health and Safety Culture
Professor of Industrial and Management Systems Engineering, Montana State University

Prof. Nicholas J. Ward, Director, the Center for Health and Safety Culture, Professor at Montana State University, presented on the topic of Traffic Safety Culture and a Roadmap for Vision Zero. He suggested a reframing of the terminology of road traffic safety to refer to traffic incidents as crashes not accidents to convey the possibility to predict and prevent accidents in the future. The safe system approach depends on a positive traffic safety culture. Thus, we must consider how the social environment support the successful use of the safe system approach.


First, traffic safety culture influences road users. For example, society tends to value speed because it saves time or because it is thrilling. This culture is shown in our artifacts, such as popular movies and car commercials that glorify speeding.


Second, traffic safety culture influences the actions of traffic safety stakeholders. The safe system approach relies on cooperation amongst stakeholders. Unless stakeholders share a culture that motivates them to leave their disciplinary silo and cooperate with other stakeholders, it is not possible to create and sustain a safe system.


To be able to cooperate together, it is important that we have shared terminology and concepts across cultures and stakeholders especially in the concepts of traffic safety culture, safety system approach, and vision zero that can be communicated across identities, and enable cooperation and leverage belonging towards traffic safety.


A priority of safety with a strong traffic safety culture will motivate the adoption of zero. Traffic safety culture can also be used as a process for changing road user behaviors and stakeholder actions. The steps in a positive culture framework include planning and advocating, assessing culture, establishing common purpose, and prioritizing opportunities, developing a portfolio of strategies, piloting and refining strategies, implementing strategies, and evaluating effectiveness and needs.


The research roadmap to the realization of a positive culture framework should consider many aspects including planning and environmental advocacy, baseline data, message development, communication plans, pilot testing and refining materials, implementing campaigns, and most importantly, evaluation.


Panel Discussion (Session 1, Short Speeches)

Shunsuke Managi
Professor, Departments of Urban and Environmental Engineering, School of Engineering, Kyushu University

Coordinator Prof. Shunsuke Managi, Kyushu University, summarized the speeches and introduced the speakers and panel.


Soames Job
CEO and Principal, Global Road Safety Solutions

Dr. Soames Job, CEO and Principal, Global Road Safety Solutions, spoke on a culture for road safety. He noted that psychosocial evidence shows that human behavior is mostly influenced by situation not personality. In addition, it is also worth noting that cultural influences the management of road safety, which in turn influences the road environment, which in turn influences road user behavior and outcomes. It has been seen that Japan has a strong culture and road safety, leading safety ratings, and the physical road barriers and systems are well developed.


The ultimate aim should be towards prioritizing the elimination of deaths and debilitating injuries, then eliminating all injuries and finally realizing a society with zero crashes.


A safe system is influenced by culture and vice versa culture is influenced by safe systems. In order to create a culture that supports safe systems political will is vital. Culture and deterrence can eliminate some risks, but not all. Therefore, the right culture and the right system need to work in unison and focusing on road safety culture can help enable all of this.


George Yannis
Professor, the National Technical University of Athens (NTUA)

Prof. George Yannis, National Technical University of Athens, spoke on open data as a catalyst for change in traffic safety culture. Crashes differ in characteristics on different continents and there is also diversity in road safety culture. There are different levels of transport system development and different traffic pathways. And these pathways are not always uniform and rich countries do not always perform better than poor countries.


Therefore, to enable a traffic safety culture, there needs to be a system approach to with indicators and data of recorded behavior. The indicators should involve a monitoring of measures and an evaluation of safety measure and effectiveness.


By extrapolating on risk and risk factors it can be seen that higher perception of risk leads to higher the performance of measures. This highlights the need for open data which can enhance the culture of traffic safety by motivating the authorities. International cooperation needs to involve benchmarking, exchange of good practices, operating road safety observatories, and exploiting new technologies.


Open safety should be available to all. There is need for data processing analysis and publication, and for monitoring and accountability to be continuously conducted. Moreover, traffic safety should be considered by improving mobility and culture together.


Susanna Zammataro
Director General of the International Road Federation (IRF), Geneva

Ms. Susanna Zammataro, Director General, IRF, introduced the IRF and the strategic pillars of its activities which are knowledge, connections, and advocacy. It collaborates sharing expertise and innovation with organizations and universities like IATSS, University of Birmingham, and Qatar University. It produces annually the World Road Statistics a unique compilation of data for the sector . Moreover, it connects different parties together to solve problems and engages in advocacy with decisionmakers to bring about positive change and advance the global agenda.


Its road safety work has a strong focus on training and capacity building (Road Safety Audits and revision of standards among others). Through project work, IRF is able to advance knowledge for the sector and empower national stakeholders and institutional frameworks. Furthermore IRF facilitates sharing of knowledge via its knowledge center, gTKP (www.gtkp.com).


According to data, pedestrians represent the largest group among road traffic deaths in Japan. Most of them are killed while crossing the roads. Therefore it is important to create an enabling an environment since culture has a large role to play when it comes to pedestrians fatalities.


As recognized in the Stockholm Ministerial Declaration, the UN General Assembly Resolution 74/299, and the Decade of Action Plan (2021-2030), the private sector has a central role to play. It is good at: 1. changing behavior and raising codes of practice. 2. establish values-based investing and 3. developing business models and an ecosystem that revolves around safety.


TotalEnergies and IRF are collaborating to mobilise and federate private sector stakeholders to support road safety efforts around the world. The objective is to substantially improve road safety via hands-on, impact-oriented and scalable activities via a coalition of private sector companies.


A coalition and the collaboration that it entails allows to maximise the impact of road safety efforts. Through sharing best practices and know-how in the different areas of expertise, costs can be shared and effort duplication can be minimised in order to carry out impactful projects. IRF is currently building private sector road safety coalitions around the world. The latter have a strong focus on drivers training and raising awareness. The programme women on wheels is an excellent example of how collaborations are able to generate innovative solution to complex problems. By recruiting and training women truck drivers the programme addresses the problem of a global shortage of truck drivers, supports diversity and inclusion and helps reduce traffic fatalities and injuries since women are up to 4 times safer than their male counterparts.

Panel Discussion (Session 2, Discussion)

Moderator: Shunsuke Managi
Panelists: Soames Job
Akinori Morimoto
Nicholas J. Ward
George Yannis
Susanna Zammataro

The coordinator proposed the questions of how to measure crash mitigations, how the inclination to traffic violations can be reduced and the guidelines for this, and the path forward to vision zero. The coordinator also shared the comment from the audience that the aim of zero crashes is an excellent goal.


Dr. Job commented that the way to measure mitigations and data is complex but achievable. In this respect, many global organizations are working hard in Africa with the road safety observatory, and this helps understanding of data and the problems. However, low-income countries are missing the data of crashes and the economic loss. Africa is the worst in terms of traffic deaths despite having the lowest number of vehicles. Moreover, road safety should be guided by scientific evidence not common sense.


On gender differences, 70% of deaths are males but it is not due to simply due exposure. It is in fact true that female drivers have less serious crashes than males. Women are still not allowed to drive in some countries and so change is urgently needed in this regard, for equity and road safety.


Prof. Morimoto summaries the speakers’ comments and shared his appreciation for the sharing on the common vision.


Prof. Ward stated that bringing industry and the workplace into traffic safety helps workplaces and also wider communities towards traffic safety. Companies focus on social responsibility in terms of environment, but they can also recognize the impact of traffic safety in the communities of their employees. Creating a strong traffic safety culture at work may encourage employees to transfer that culture throughout their communities.


Prof. Yannis stated that traffic rules are not complied with due to the low perception of risk because of the rarity of crashes. Road users should be convinced through enforcement and education. Enforcement is temporary, but on the other hand, education has a longer effect. Systems need to be created in both enforcement and education such as low and frequent fines and education of parents. This can increase the perception of risk. The private sector can be very efficient in fleet management. And any affect to these fleets can improve large percentage of all road traffic. The solution will not only come from building roads and vehicles, but also from improving the patterns of mobility and adoption of public transportation, and cooperation at all levels.


The coordinator asked regarding the Global Plan: Decade of Action for Road Safety 2021-2030, how can traffic safety gain the same standing those other goals such as the SDGs and greenhouse gas emissions?


Dr. Job mentioned that the low- and middle-income countries have 93% of the deaths so emphasis should be placed there. Also, there are three donor funded a global roads safety organizations delivering funding, road safety research and advice: the Global Road Safety partnership, the World Bank Global Road Safety Facility, and the UN Road Safety Fund. However, there is not remotely enough money in these to achieve what is planned. Even the MDBs do not have sufficient funds for the road safety task. The financial investment required is so large that governments must commit money and decide to regulate, and to not simply shift blame to the private sector or road users. Road traffic safety is a good investment as it has been shown that there is a 1000% return on investment from many safety interventions – more than the return on many other investments made by Governments.


Prof. Morimoto stated that the direction for land use is critical as seen in Tokyo which is the safest because most movements are in public transportation. This makes for a safe society. Prof. Morimoto also added that as IATSS is to celebrate its 50th anniversary, it will be of great importance to make progress on the roadmap to zero crashes.


Prof. Ward added that the reductions need to be aimed at low- and middle-income countries because the factors are different to developed countries. They have growing transportation systems. Nevertheless, best practices should be put in place to avoid the mistakes of the higher income countries.


Prof. Yannis explained that the most cases, as more crashes are seen in low- and middle-income countries, they are the most suitable to focus on safe mobility patterns, such as slower speeds and traffic and protection of all valuable users.


Closing Address

Satoshi Kamada
Executive Director, IATSS

Mr. Satoshi Kamada, Executive Director of IATSS, the International Association of Traffic and Safety Sciences, expressed his thanks to the speakers and participants from the 7th GIFTS Symposium which saw visitors from many counties and expressed his appreciation for the supporting organizations of the event.


The symposium addressed the safe transportation through international collaboration, taking into account the diversity of traffic culture. Familiar speakers furthered discussion on conceptual frameworks towards realization of a road traffic safety culture. Mr. Kamada reaffirmed that progress towards traffic safety will be made by interdisciplinary and practical research and wide cooperation, and to this end, IATSS will continue the GIFTS framework.

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