SAFER accelerates the knowledge building in Traffic safety footprint through its Think Tank

Jun, 19 2023

In connection to the global ministerial conference on road safety in 2020, when traffic safety footprint was first introduced as a concept with great potential for improving global road safety, SAFER has worked committed to build and spread knowledge about this new way of approaching safety in traffic. A Think Tank for traffic safety footprint, funded by SAFER with partners from Autoliv, VTI, Volvo Group, the Swedish Transport Administration and Folksam has made great progress in mapping suitable activities and research questions that could be addressed to accelerate implementation. SAFER's board is now investing in prolonging the Think Tank, which is now entering its second phase.

New way of managing road safety
At the third UN Conference on road safety in Stockholm in 2020, the international community was mature to bring traffic safety into a sustainability context. Road safety is one of the global sustainable development goals - target 3.6 “By 2030, halve the number of global deaths and injuries from road traffic accidents”. Sustainability and road safety needs to go hand in hand to achieve this bold target. The outcome from the conference was the Stockholm Declaration, later endorsed by the UN General Assembly by a resolution on Improving Global Road Safety (A/RES/74/299).

One of the main recommendations from the UN conference was to include traffic safety into organisations’ corporate responsibility agenda; i.e. as organisations report their climate impact, work related accidents or emissions. By doing so, measuring and follow up the traffic safety impact by organisation’s products and services throughout their value chains are a core activity. This way of approaching safety will also mean that the responsibility for safe traffic is transferred from the individual road user to an organisation, which in turn can lead to better possibilities to setting targets, systematic measurements, follow-up and implementation of effective measures and actions – and long term improve safety in the mobility system.

SAFER’s Think Tank is setting the strategic direction
Since the concept of traffic safety footprint was introduced, SAFER’s partners have been exploring the opportunities further.

The SAFER Think tank for traffic safety footprint, formed by partners in SAFER in 2022, has been committed to look deeper into how the SAFER collaboration platform can support and accelerate implementation of the concept on a broader basis. This has been done by identifying relevant research questions and share knowledge on how to address the challenges connected to addressing the full potential of using traffic safety footprints as a tool to improve traffic safety. The Think Tank has also looked into defining a framework to approach and identify organisations’ traffic safety footprint as well as initiated future projects.

The next stage in the work to create momentum
The current stage of the Think Tank for Traffic safety footprint has already identified several valuable collaboration activities to create knowledge and the partner will now continue to build knowledge, exchange experiences and develop best practice to identify their road safety footprint and use this tool to contribute to Agenda 2030. The need for collaboration to take on the challenge are huge and we see a great potential for SAFER to take a leading role and position in this work. In the next phase of the Think Tank will continue to act as a catalyst for joint projects, e.g.:

  • Continue with investigate traffic safety requirement in procurements as a tool to (partly) identify footprint.
  • Accidents studies in middle- and low-income countries.
  • Propose a tool to include employers' role in accidents investigations for accidents at work.
  • Setting requirements and follow-up at several levels and include in the sustainable reporting.
  • Target groups in these projects: Transport companies, municipalities, vehicle manufacturers, public transport operators, companies that procure transport. The team will reach out to international actors to learn more and spread our main findings. We also would like to connect to new partners e.g. delivery companies using bike transport.
  • The funding will be used for project management, workshops and data collection and dissemination events.

Main results from the first period in the SAFER Think Tank
So far in the Think Tank’s work, two themes have been presented and further discussed. The first one, "Fatal injury as an indicator to trace and identify the footprint" has been broken down into a case study to further dig into how a mapping of injuries could look like. The second theme, "Procurement as an enabler to improve traffic safety for transports" is considered as a way forward to improve traffic safety. Together with the project “Traffic safety requirements in procurement of heavy goods transport”, funded by Skyltfonden, two workshops have been organised to study how traffic safety requirements could be set and follow-up during the procurement of goods transports. The Think Tank has started to define which strategic initiatives SAFER could take on to develop the footprint concept, thematically, and mapped possible research questions. The results from the work in the first phase will be presented at an event in September.