IRF Intensifies Road Safety Campaigns
“Road safety is at a crossroads” according to the United Nations’ Global Plan of Action released in October as part of the UN Decade of Action for Road Safety 2021-2030. The Global Plan is unambiguous in rejecting “business as usual approaches” and calls on governments and stakeholders to take a new path that prioritizes an integrated Safe System approach to help the world hit the target of a 50% reduction in the number of road traffic deaths and serious injuries by 2030.
Where safe road infrastructure is concerned, the Plan recognizes that road infrastructure must be planned, designed, built and operated to minimize risks for all road users, starting with the most vulnerable. Highlighted action areas include the adoption of minimum technical infrastructure standards for road and roadside safety facilities (such as markings and median separation), crash risk mapping, as well as road safety audits using “independent and accredited experts” to ensure these minimum standards are met.
In many ways, the Global Plan of Action validates positions advocated by the International Road Federation. In a January 2015 policy statement, the IRF called for preventive risk identification measures, such as road safety audits carried out at the detailed design and pre-opening stages of all new or rehabilitated roads receiving development funds. In 2017, IRF asked for a harmonized approach to road safety audits, and for a globally recognized pathway to professional accreditation.
The launch later that year of an IRF Global Credential Program for road safety auditors remedied this critical gap by offering a pathway for seasoned road safety professionals who wished to enhance their qualifications at home or seek work abroad. In order to complete the Global Credential program, applicants are required to take an online knowledge qualifying exam and submit a comprehensive application presenting their professional track record and details of the projects they have audited, which in turn are evaluated by an independent third party contracted by IRF.
Since 2020, IRF has vastly increased its portfolio of training resources for road professionals, with new courses on speed management, human factors in road design, crash reconstruction, and cost-benefit analyses, among others.