Safety Days conference 2017

Safety Days conference 2017

During Safety Days 2017 a unique group of authorities, transport industry, academia and local interest groups/charities came together to share experience, and to inspire and challenge each other.

Safety Days 2017 focused on the urgent issue of urban road safety in Europe and in particular the safe interaction between unprotected road users and motorized traffic. By bringing together representatives of different sides of the local debate on urban safety in progressive cycling cities in Europe with industry and other organisations who are active on an international level, an interesting and valuable exchange was achieved. The debate revolved around the balance of efforts and the challenges involved in initiating change to improve the future urban safety for all road users while not forgetting about the urgent short-term needs. 

Road Safety and Sustainable Transports

Road Safety and Sustainable Transports

There is a strong link between an efficient and well-functioning transport system and the growth and development of a region’s economy, and as a result, the improved social conditions of those living there. In many ways transportation is the engine that powers a society and enables its development.

But, despite recent decades of significant improvements in high-income countries road safety remains a big global concern. So big, in fact, that poor road safety is a major obstacle for building prosperity and sustainable development in low- and middle income counties.

Big social and environmental issues are reshaping the idea of what our future society and cities should look like. The transport sector is expected to lead the transformation to safe, silent and sustainable mobility and transportation.   

Safe and Sustainable Mobility in Cities

Safe and Sustainable Mobility in Cities

The issues facing society ahead is a challenging mix of conventional concerns and new issues introduced by a changing transport system and fast paced urbanization.

Despite relatively high levels of road safety in Europe the progress have all but stagnated. This is particularly true for unprotected road users, for whom progress is significantly slower than for other road users. We cannot succeed in encouraging a modal shift to walking, cycling and public transport when the actual and perceived safety is poor.

There are both urgent short-term safety concerns and longer-term transformative aspect to address. Some measures have a delayed safety effect whereas others make a difference immediately. There is a common interest and shared responsibility to identify the right mix of these efforts. 

Safe interaction between unprotected road users and heavy goods vehicles

Safe interaction between unprotected road users and heavy goods vehicles

In order to reach zero serious injuries in traffic all stakeholders must work systematically in close collaboration to make sure progress is made to the safe system as a whole. Sharing expertise and debating the right balance of measures is a powerful way to accelerate progress.

By achieving a common understanding of what can and should be done in areas like; transport policy and enforcement, vehicle design and technology, road infrastructure, and road user behavior, we ensure resources are devoted to developments more likely to yield safety benefits. We also make sure the individual efforts of various stakeholders are more likely to reinforce one another.

Balancing efforts to improve urban safety

Balancing efforts to improve urban safety

There are many laudable efforts across Europe aiming to raise awareness and improve safety understanding among both vehicle drivers and cyclists and pedestrians. Efforts are also being made to provide better access for cyclists to the city space. Moreover, vehicle technology is becoming increasingly mature to make a bigger contribution to reduce common urban accident scenarios involving unprotected road users. European vehicle regulation is presently being revised in order to improve vehicle safety. In addition, several city authorities are looking at city access restrictions and buying power as driving forces by putting in place schemes aiming to stimulate actors in the transport value chain to invest in safety.

There seems to be a much stronger agreement today compared to just a few years ago on the size and characteristics of the urban safety concerns involving unprotected road users and the actions needed to improve the situation. However, many of these efforts involve large infrastructure projects, vehicle technology development and deployment, and international policy and regulation development, all of which take time to implement and reach their full effect. So the urgency of the local road safety concerns remains. As a result, additional efforts are needed in the short-term to mitigate the prevalence of risk in traffic.