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PIARC (World Road Association), founded in 1909 and comprising 125 member governments from all over the world, is the global forum for exchange of knowledge and experience on roads, road transport policies and practices. With consultative status to the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations, the Association is contributing to a stable and sustainable global development of the road and transport sector.

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International Seminar "Road Safety National Policies and Programs"

11-12 November 2013, Buenos Aires (Argentina)

This international seminar "Road Safety National Policies and Programs" was organized by the World Road Association (PIARC), the Asociación Argentina de Carreteras, the Ministry of Interior and Transport and the Observatorio Iberoamericano de Seguridad Vial (OISEVI). The International Transport Forum (IRTAD) / OISEVI conference "Better Safety Data" was held aligned with this seminar and the two events shared a joint opening in the morning of November 11th.

International Seminar Proceedings

The seminar gathered 170 participants from 24 countries around the world. It was opened by Oscar de Buen, Guillermo Cabana, Fred Wegman, Felipe Rodriguez Laguens and Nelson Periotti, representing the organizing parties. Also, Tawia Addo-Ashong, representing the World Bank, gave an opening speech. All speakers stressed the importance of continued knowledge sharing in the field of road safety policies.

The sessions on the first day gave examples from around the world on the progress of National road safety policies and programs. Many countries could present ambitious targets and safe system approaches in line with the latest research. However, the challenge now facing many countries is turning ambitions into actions. When presenting the Brazilian case, Eric Lancelot, from the World Bank, stressed the fact that one challenge is to use existing data to implement relevant measures, rather than just requesting more data. Some concrete measures were presented, for example a test of Intelligent Speed Adaptations systems now performed in Australia (presented by Julian Lyngcoln of VicRoads). The global ambitions for road safety within the Decade of Action were also presented, as well as the ISO standard for road safety, ISO39001.

On the second day, the participants on the seminar could attend parallel workshops led by World Road Association TC 3.1 Work Group members on the following topics: "Road safety in urban areas and land use planning", "Investment strategies for road safety", and "Methodology for road safety evaluation". In the workshop on road safety and land use planning, the importance of looking simultaneously at accessibility and safety was stressed, which could be summarized in the term "complete streets". In the workshop on investments for road safety, a number of investment strategies were presented from different countries, for example Chile. Norwegian researcher Rune Elvik gave an overview on how road safety may be planned in order to get measures implemented.

Another parallel workshop, led by TC 3.1 Chairman, Matts-Åke Belin, was dedicated to a presentation and a discussion of the World Road Association Road Safety Manual under development. It complements the Global Plan for the Decade of Action for Road Safety, and especially supports pillars 1, 2 and 4. The aim of this manual is to disseminate updated knowledge base on road safety worldwide; it will be especially valuable for low and middle income countries when developing a national road safety plan and the related institutional arrangements.

The seminar ended with a round table discussion on the challenges and possibilities ahead for working with successful road safety. The attending audience was active and stressed many important issues in questions to the panelists.