Road Safety | 06 November 2014
“The best in the world”: Celebrating 25 years of IRTAD road safety data
This week, the International Transport Forum marks the 25th anniversary of IRTAD. A household name in the road safety community, the IRTAD acronym stands for both a database and for the only permanent working group of the ITF.
For 25 years, IRTAD has worked to improve traffic safety data, to enable more effective road safety strategies and save lives. Founded with 12 member countries as a database, IRTAD soon also brought together road safety experts and statisticians from research institutes, national administrations, international organisations, universities, automobile associations and car manufacturers. Today, IRTAD has 70 members from 35 countries.
Among the most impactful initiatives have been twinning projects, starting in 2008, to assist non-member countries in improving their national crash data systems. A successful twinning between Argentina and Spain led to the creation in 2011 of the Ibero-American Road Safety Observatory (OISEVI), a co-operation platform for the directors for road safety from 18 Latin American and Caribbean countries. IRTAD supports OISEVI through the new IRTAD-LAC database. Other important IRTAD outputs include the Road Safety Annual Report and international conferences.
“Far too many people are dying or being seriously injured in road crashes in the world. We’d like to bring these numbers down”, said IRTAD group chairman Fred Wegman. “For that we need evidence and data. It is very good to see how IRTAD has developed into a world leader when it comes to road safety data. I thank all of our members, and this is also an invitation for others to join this network.”
Colleagues from partner organisations expressed their appreciation of the work done by IRTAD:
“The IRTAD group and database are a model of a multi-country effort”, said Etienne Krug, Director at the World Health Organization (WHO), in a video message.
”Good policy making in road safety depends critically on data”, said David Ward, Director-General of the Global New Car Assessment Programme (Global NCAP). “And the kind of crash and accident data that IRTAD had developed over the past 25 years is simply the best in the world.”
Jean Todt, President of the Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA), added: “The IRTAD group has become a unique institution. Many countries now see IRTAD membership as an important goal to achieve.”
Saul Billingsley, Director General of the FIA Foundation, said: “IRTAD has a really important role to play, not only in the traditional OECD countries, but also in helping low and middle-income countries, who are struggling with very high road injury rates, to understand what their problems are and how to solve them.”
Watch the IRTAD chairman's 25th anniversary message (external link)
Watch partner statements on IRTAD’s 25th anniversary (external link)