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IRF in motion at the PIARC World Congress 2019

As the curtain falls on a very successful PIARC World Congress, here's a snapshot of IRF's contribution. More details in the October newsletter. Stay tuned!

Building Partnerships for Better Road Safety

As one of the official pre-event to the Third Global Road Safety Ministerial to be hosted in Sweden 2020, the session was opened by a Keynote address from Mattias Landgren, Sweden State Secretary. "Political leadership is fundamental, but we must work in true partnership with civil society and the private sector to succeed" he stated. The session organised by IRF aimed at showing the added value of working together and in a systemic way. Despite a Decade of Action and immense efforts at all levels, we have still not managed to bring about the scale of change needed. the session explored the importance of inter-agency collaboration and of multi-stakeholders' partnerships. It provided concrete examples of successful partnerships and guidance on concrete steps to be undertaken to set up partnerships that deliver, especially in the case of LMICs. "The real innovation going forward will be to learn to work together in partnerships" concluded Bill Halkias, President of IRF.

Transport is not gender neutral: from increasing mobility to enhancing employment in the road sector

IRF, World Bank and the ITF brought together the gender issue on the agenda for the very first time in 110 years of existence of the PIARC World Congress. Women represent only 15% of transport sector employees. 113 countries still do not mandate equal pay for equal work. 20% of engineering graduated are women. Out of these 40% quit or never enter the profession. "The importance of closing the gender gap is a no brainer" said Guangzhou Chen, Global Director at World Bank Transport opening the session. Access to mentorship is crucial in highly-skilled professions like engineering. It means access to experience and a chance to advance your career.
"Commitment from the top hierarchy can be a real catalyst for change" commented Susanna Zammataro, IRF Director General.

Implementing innovative technologies: the role of the private and the public sector

As private firms are increasingly developing the capabilities to focus on Transport Research and Innovation investment, the role of government is switching from investor of first resort to a guarantor of sustainability by providing the supporting environment for the private sector to act and invest and by ensuring that innovation ecosystems have healthy market places with an expanding base of consumers to supply. Actually, the role of the government in promoting consumption through various types of tax incentives and standard-setting is every bit as important as directly investing in innovation. Sufficient, sustained consumption provides the critical feedback necessary to energize innovation ecosystems over time. Having a framework that allows for these dynamics keeps research directly involved with implementable, deployed results that can adequately address new focus areas such as connected and autonomous vehicles. This was the conclusion of the session hosted by TRB international cooperation committee members.

Development of sustainable road safety audits and inspections in low- and middle-income countries

Road Safety Audit and Road Safety Inspection are well accepted practices in the design and management of the road network in well developed economies and have been adopted increasingly in low- and middle-income countries, chiefly through the support of international funding agency major programmes. This official pre-event to Sweden 2020 Ministerial conference discussed the institutional requirements needed locally to successfully embed each of the international practices within the design and management process. It looked into ways to develop local knowledge and expertise in LMICs. "A road safety audit is more about practice and experience and this is the key message we need to pass" said John Barrell, Chair UK CIHT SoRSA.

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