Establishment of PIARC Databook of Road and Road Transport (2014-2018)
- Date : 2018
- Domain(s) : Road Policies / Governance of Road Authorities
- PIARC Ref. : 2018SP02EN
- Number of pages : 62
Currently road administrations of many countries on austerities has to tackle some difficult issues: investing on extension of road network, maintenance and rehabilitation of existing aged roads, prompt recovery of road operation from the damage caused by large-scale disasters, and creation of safe road space. They are requested to assess the importance of political measures and implement them adequately as well as effectively while carefully reviewing the present situation. Then it is critical to collect and analyse the statistics regarding road and road transport, and road administrators, especially engineers, are obliged to conduct quantitative research on and make an objective assessment of actions, in order of priority based on such data analysis.
Also we find it important to enable an international comparison of road statistics among the countries on the same definition and requirements, thereby allowing us to accurately gauge maturity of road and road transport of each country. Such data collection based on the internationally uniform standard will lead to proper understanding of road network development, latest traffic situation, and traffic safety level of a country. Its road authority will accurately identify how developed its road and road transport are among the countries and what to do for further road development. In addition when political interventions are implemented, data provision will help us achieve consensus about their projects and facilitate communication between stakeholders. Figures are easy to understand and convincing, and they have to be presented on any occasion if necessary by road administrations.
Conversely, it is impossible to allow an international data comparison of road and road transport without uniformed data definition and its making rule. What is worse, such data inconsistency due to unclearness and unfairness will mislead us about comprehension of road projects in a country. In the past a certain politician claimed that we would not have to construct any more roads in Japan, as evidenced by the international road statistics wrongly interpreting roads of Japan as those including even narrow paths and streets. In fact, however, after inspecting density of the road whose definition is rigid and exactly comparable among countries, we are convinced of vital necessity of further road network development in Japan. In general while numerical evaluation is fairly understandable, lack of comprehension about evidence of figures and their definition will lead to a serious misunderstanding. As is the case highlighted in the above, development of road projects in Japan was nearly discouraged then due to analysis of the data without reliability and consistency.
With the above background provided, since SPC meeting in Santiago, Chile 2014, I have insisted as Executive Committee member from Japan that PIARC produce its own international road statistics, and I encouraged my colleagues to carry out some pilot projects for its production. As described in this report, many of existing international road statistics may lack clear definition of the data to be collected, and sometimes their figures are neither consistent nor updated enough to be compared equally and fairly among the countries. When some data is collected for certain road statistics with the aim of their update, in reality the correspondent of each country, without careful examination, just responds to the survey conventionally conducted by the secretariat of the organization releasing such road statistics. As I mentioned, the road and road transport data lack of reliability and accuracy does not enable us to perform internationally comparative analysis of political measures for their development.
PIARC, on the other hand, consists of road administrations of 121 governments with their executives acting as First Delegates, and we will surely have the up-to-date data provided with enough accuracy from the reliable data source. Also our TC members of diversely academic and professional backgrounds will be able to cooperate on extensive collection of many statistical data, and data provision as our own road statistics will help satisfy the needs of members, thereby raising the status of and adding the value to PIARC itself.
This report spells out details of our research and outcomes of some pilot projects, and the latest phase of "International Road Statistics of PIARC", renamed as "PIARC Databook of Road and Road Transport", almost ready for publication, is included. I would like our first product to be further improved with more substantial data collection, by the initiative of the General Secretariat and the contribution from member countries, and I wish to have many readers benefit from this report anyway.
Vice President of PIARC and Strategic Theme B Coordinator
President of PIARC National Committee of Japan