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Diversity in traffic culture and unsafe behaviour discussed at the 6th Global Interactive Forum on Traffic and Safety

November 26 All day

On 26 November, the International Association of Traffic and Safety Sciences (IATSS) in Tokyo, Japan held the  6th Global Interactive Forum on Traffic Safety.


Supported by IRF and organised around the theme “Diversity in Traffic Culture and Unsafe Behaviour”, discussions at this 6th edition aimed at paving the way for implementing more effective traffic safety measures in order of importance and urgency. Invited to speak, IRF Director General, Susanna Zammataro, shared insights on pedestrians road-crossing behaviour and the influence of culture on social information usage.


Every country and region has its own peculiar set of values, religion, philosophy on life and social structure. This is the base of traffic participants’ normative beliefs and behavior as well as laws and institutional framework. These cultural factors influence traffic crashes and attitudes towards traffic congestion. Therefore, it is important to measure and analyse the effect of culture when trying to understand and reduce crashes.


This is particularly the case for pedestrians’ behavior which has now become an important research area as the size of human population living in big cities increases. The faster a pedestrian decides to cross, the riskier the decision will be, as the pedestrian takes less time to obtain information before stepping off the kerb. However, this decision might be influenced by different social and non-social factors. The use of social information and the probability of rule breaking are strongly correlated with the culture and the country of pedestrians, with each country having its own principles of conformism and social norms. Whilst many studies have tried to understand which factors influence the incidence of rule breaking at road crossings, very few focused on the decision-making process of pedestrians facing the different conditions of these variables, that is to say how their perception and interpretation of the information they receive.


IRF Director General presentation looked at the result of a study assessing how pedestrians use social information to cross the road in cities of two countries with different social norms: France and Japan.


The conference saw also presentations from Dr Soames Jobs (World Bank – Global Road Safety Facility), Prof. George Yannis (National Technical University of Athens), Prof. Nicholas J. Ward (University of Montana).


All the presentations can be accessed on IATSS website.