The International Road Federation (IRF) – Roads Australia (RA) Regional Conference for Asia and Australasia, held in Sydney last week, focussed attention on the advancement of major initiatives and thought leadership within the national and international road sector.
Under the theme of road safety and innovating for the future, the joint regional conference affirmed Roads Australia’s and the IRF's commitment to the goals of the United Nations (UN) Decade of Action for Road Safety - to stabilise and then reduce the forecast level of road traffic fatalities around the world by increasing activities conducted at national, regional and global levels. Both the IRF and RA pledged to work through their respective policy arms to advance these goals at industry and government levels.
The conference also reaffirmed our organisations’ respective commitments to working with stakeholders to facilitate and support the adoption of best-practice in ITS and the implementation of technology to facilitate better outcomes for road users and communities worldwide. A number of innovative case studies highlighted the significant growth of ITS in improving global road network operations. From a funding and financing perspective, we support the trialling of road usage charging where suitable and applicable, particularly in an Australian context. The industry will continue to work with all stakeholders to promote sensible debate and further investigations in this area which is gaining traction worldwide.
The IRF and RA called upon leaders from various countries to support the move to place the issue of road safety on a higher pedestal in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the UN, which will be finalised in September 2015. It was urged upon the leadership to assist in the propagation of this important and critical issue far and wide, so it garners a large number of votes and is included in the SDGs.
The conference, which was the largest of its type to be held in the Asia-Pacific region, welcomed 90+ speakers and 350+ delegates and dignitaries from more than a dozen countries including Brunei; Canada; China; France; Greece; India; the Netherlands; New Zealand; the Philippines; South Africa; Switzerland; USA; UK; Vietnam; and Zambia.