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Date:Friday, December 1st, 2023
Venue:Tokyo Convention Hall
Method:Hybrid Meeting(On Site & Zoom)
Host:International Association of Traffic and Safety Sciences (IATSS)

Opening Remarks

Kazuhiko Takeuchi

IATSS President
President, Institute for Global Environmental Strategies (IGES)
Project Professor, the University of Tokyo

Professor Kazuhiko Takeuchi began his opening remarks by greeting and thanking the participants of the hybrid GIFTS symposium. IATSS was established in 1974 aiming to achieve a desirable traffic society. Next year will be the 50th anniversary of IATSS.

The global traffic situation is in midst of change, and there has been a response to traffic issues. These efforts include responses to reduce traffic fatalities but also responses to technological innovation, carbon neutrality, wellbeing, and information and communication technology.

Professor Takeuchi then explained that it is also becoming important to examine the role of traffic by considering the characteristics of each country and diverse cultural backgrounds. Therefore, IATSS emphasizes transdisciplinarity across its activities including participation of experts from a wide range of fields including traffic and safety. The IATSS's activities are based not only in the domain of sciences but also all the stakeholders and participants are focusing on the perspective of transdisciplinary activities. There is a need to overcome the walls and silos within each discipline, and there needs to be a connection between academic, science, and the real world to co-establish a desired society.

Since 2015, IATSS has been conducting GIFTS with the aim of achieving a sustainable traffic society.


Akihiro Nakamura

GIFTS Executive Chairman
Professor, Faculty of Economics, Chuo University

Professor Akihiro Nakamura first explained that the value of transdisciplinarity is vital for an ideal transportation society. To promote this realization, GIFTS was started nine years ago, which was the 40th anniversary of IATSS, as a platform to discuss how to realize an ideal transportation society.

Professor Nakamura then introduced the keynote speakers of this forum. He explained that, following the keynote speech, a panel discussion will be held. He then introduced the moderator and panelists of the panel discussion. Professor Nakamura highlighted the importance of a leadership training program known as the IATSS Forum, which one of the panelists, Ms. Linza Wells, attended in 2004.

Keynote Speech 1

Nicholas J. Ward

Professor Emeritus of Montana State University
Senior Principal Scientist of Leidos


Dr. Nicholas J. Ward gave the first keynote speech on changing traffic safety culture, which focuses on engaging risky and safe behaviors that affect traffic fatalities. Traffic safety is a key component to a sustainable society with the goal of achieving zero fatalities and serious injuries in our communities.

To approach traffic safety, Dr. Ward highlighted the use of engineering, enforcement, education, and culture. Traffic safety is enhanced by engineering through safer infrastructure design to create safe behaviors, for example, with speed bumps. Enforcement is introduced to prevent risky driving behavior. Education is another important approach. For traffic fatalities, decision errors, such as speeding, are more prevalent.

Why do people make these risky decisions? Dr. Ward proposed that it is due to culture. Culture plays a large role in traffic safety, for example, people are influenced by their social environment. Speeding is a cause of crashes. However, our culture makes speeding look and sound appealing. Societies will not have sustainable traffic safety if they do not change the social environment to reinforce safety.

Social motivation also plays a role in traffic safety. This social motivation can be used to guide people towards safer driving habits. It is important to think about how to support people when they exhibit the behavior necessary to achieve a zero-fatality culture.

To begin improving traffic safety culture, a definition of it must be agreed upon. Culture is defined in terms of the shared values and beliefs that define a group's identity. Once a definition is agreed upon, a model can be used to operationalize our definition of traffic safety culture.

Dr. Ward then explained a model, which is based on psychological theories of decision making, that shows the different values and beliefs that influence people's willingness and intention to engage in risky and safe behavior. This model can be used to measure traffic safety. Additionally, strategies can be developed to change culture in a way that the safe choice is the culturally appropriate choice. Cultural changes are sustainable because they are a part of the group's identity which persists into the future.

The first is to change attitudes towards the behavior. To do that, behavior beliefs need to be changed, such as our beliefs about the consequences of engaging in a behavior.

Next is to consider prototypical images, which are the attitudes about the people thought to always or never do specific behaviors. In doing that, normative beliefs need to be changed.

Perceived norms are also an important point to consider in relation to normative beliefs. When discussing norms, it is important to understand that perception is reality. Our perception of what is normal influences our decision making.

The next point that Dr. Ward discussed was perceived control, which is the belief that people have control over behaviors. In traffic safety culture, people taking actions that help others be safe is desired, such as through campaigns, strategies, and encouragement.

Finally, Dr. Ward talked about the values in communities and leveraging the values which are consistent and support traffic safety. Traffic safety culture can be used as a concept to change actions that the traffic safety stakeholders are willing to take. The U.S. is adopting the safe system approach. This system has a number of supporting principles that are necessary to be successful. A key part is to measure the stakeholder agency's organizational culture to see how well it aligns with the values of the safe system approach and to help those agencies align better.

Keynote Speech 2

Lotte Brondum

Executive Director
Global Alliance of NGOs for Road Safety


Ms. Lotte Brondum first talked about an anecdote of an individual who broadcasted traffic fatalities every day in order to raise traffic fatality awareness.

Ms. Brondum then talked about traffic in the capital of Uruguay. She highlighted that in Uruguay, as in much of the world, people are moving to big cities, and the cities are not prepared for urbanization in terms of infrastructure. Transforming the urban spaces to be safe and sustainable is crucial for this urbanization, which requires evidence and collaboration.

She then highlighted the importance of using evidence to enhance traffic safety. For example, evidence shows that 30 KPH is safe in areas with other vehicles and pedestrians.

To evaluate if cities are able to deal with mobility sustainably, Ms. Brondum's team developed mobility snapshots, which are snapshots of what mobility looks like in specific areas. Pedestrian safety is an important indicator because safety for pedestrians equates to safety for everyone. To improve pedestrian safety, the experience that pedestrians have must be understood using data.

She emphasized that intersections are particularly dangerous for pedestrians. Out of evaluating 12 cities of different income countries, a large number of pedestrians use intersections during peak hours. However, pedestrians are often not the priority. Ms. Brondum particularly talked about an intersection in Abuja, Nigeria, which has a high pedestrian rate. The intersection has a high speed limit, no crosswalk, and no traffic calming measures. The lack of pedestrian safety measures in this intersection result in deaths and injuries. This evidence shows that Abuja is a city built for cars, and it does not prioritize pedestrians.

Safety culture is often about prioritizing cars instead of pedestrians. If roads are built for cars, then there will be cars. On the other hand, if roads are built for walking and cycling, then they will be used for walking and cycling. Similarly, if a road is built for safety, then safety will be present.

Ms. Brondum also emphasized the importance of friends and collaboration. There are many partners with the same agenda. There are many ways to collaborate. For example, there are SDGs that align with agendas of players in the traffic safety area: SDG 1 addresses eliminating poverty, so it is important to ensure people have access to work through safe transportation; SDG 3 addresses health and plays a role in traffic because walking and cycling provide physical and mental health and wellbeing benefits; SDG 4 addresses quality education, and in Ms. Brondum's surveys, it was found that students have dropped out of school due to traffic accidents; SDG 13 addresses climate, and the Paris Agreement requirements will not be met unless more opportunities for walking and cycling are provided.

In conclusion, Ms. Brondum highlighted how simple improvements based on evidence can promote and change urban settings.

Panel Discussion

Moderator Prof. Shunsuke Managi
Panelists Ms. Linza Wells
Prof. Yuto Kitamura
Ms. Lotte Brondum
Dr. Nicholas J. Ward

The moderator, Professor Shunsuke Managi, first explained that the panel will discuss transportation and safety contributing to sustainable societies and how non-economic factors can contribute to safety in the region. One aspect to consider is how drivers should behave. Another aspect is how to arrange the physical space to contribute to traffic safety.

Also, this panel will discuss the key performance indicators to judge how traffic safety relates to sustainable cities. This is important to consider on having positive decision making and actions based on evidence. Panelists will present important KPIs for sustainable cities.

Lecture 1 Presentation

Ms. Linza Wells first touched on her background, which includes previously attending the IATSS Forum in Suzuka, Japan in 2004.

She then talked about the major KPIs for sustainable transportation which are pedestrian safety, public transportation usage, shared mobility, and evolving transport modes.

Currently, ownership of cars in Southeast Asia is seen as a status symbol. In some cultures, walking and cycling are seen as an indicator of low income. This image can be changed through the introduction of bike lanes and pedestrian walkways. Temperature and climate also influence pedestrian behavior.

She then explained that the five elements in road safety are education, policy, engineering and planning, evolving issues, and enforcement. Regarding education, curriculum teaches children the right safety culture. Considering policies, governments and regulators need to follow international standards to create the right habits and behavior among users. About engineering and planning, regulations that govern urban planning and design for development must have safety rules and a green agenda. In regard to evolving issues related to electric vehicles, hydrogen power vehicles, and personal mobility vehicles are aspects that governments and planners need to consider for the future. Looking at road safety education, children are the most vulnerable group with regards to road accidents which is an indication of a lack of resources and a lack of sustainable transportation. Also, stricter enforcement of overloaded trucks and a concerted effort by Southeast Asian countries to invest more in rail transport to move freight from the road to the rail are necessary to create safer roads.

Ms. Wells highlighted the need to consider evolving traffic and road safety issues. For example, in the future, there will be more autonomous and electric vehicles in use which have their own challenges, such as with the lack of sound which is a challenge for the visually and hearing impaired. Governments, regulators, policy makers, and planners need to consider the changing environment, the changing modes of transport, and plan for the future.

Lecture 2 Presentation

Professor Yuto Kitamura explained a research project that shows that when motorcycles have more than three passengers, there are very few accidents because the driver drives slowly and carefully. In fact, motorcycles that crash usually involve drunk driving, passengers, nighttime, and high speeds. He emphasized the fact that it is important to consider how people are conscious about safety.

In Cambodia, the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) installed new traffic lights in Phnom Penh in an attempt to unify all types of traffic lights and make them more visible. It turned out that drivers violated the traffic lights because they could not only see the traffic light for their lane, but they could also see the light for the intersecting lane. As a result, drivers knew when they had to go or stop based on the interesting lane's lights, and drivers often ignored the light in their own lane.

Professor Kitamura then explained a project involving a difficult commute for high school students in a particular town in Japan with a limited number of buses. Electric bicycles were donated to the students. As a result, the students understood the driving conditions of the roads. They recognized areas of the town that had traffic issues, such as potholes. These students then submitted recommendations to the local government to respond to the problems. This is significant because the students are not simply taught how to be safe, but they are actively involved in making the diving conditions safer.

Professor Kitamura emphasized that there are groups of people who are vulnerable, and more attention needs to be paid to them to realize sustainable cities. Finally, he discussed KPIs for traffic safety education. Culture is difficult to measure, so coming up with a set of indicators of traffic culture remains a challenge.

Lecture 3 Presentation

Ms. Lotte Brondum said again that it is crucial to consider who cities are being built for: cars or people. The UN published a report listing KPIs for sustainable cities. Ms. Brondum highlighted the KPI about car free-zones and pedestrian zones which are valuable indicators for walking, and walking is an indicator of health, gender equality, and climate.

She suggested a KPI about creating a culture and environment where walking is safe. The KPI would be around the percentage of 30 KPH zones where there are many people mixing with cars, speed reduction, speed level, percentage of pedestrian facilities which enable people to walk safely, and traffic calming measures.

Lecture 4 Presentation

Dr. Nicholas J. Ward talked about key process indicators (rather than key performance indicators) to consider not measure of outcomes for traffic safety and sustainability but conditions that are needed to be established which lead to and sustain traffic safety goals. He highlighted three conditions to achieve zero traffic fatalities and sustain it. The first is social capital which is the perceived bond among people that supports reciprocity and cooperation. If people are trying to achieve a sustainable future, they need to feel that they are connected to each other and work together to reach and sustain that future. This is difficult to measure, but it can be done through surveys.

The second is traffic safety culture which is a shared belief system that prioritizes traffic safety and encourages safe behavior. This too is difficult to measure, but there are standard ways of asking questions in surveys or interviews to collect this data. If the questions are developed appropriately, culture can be measured through them.

The third is time orientation which refers to our cognitive framework that organizes our experience into temporal categories of the past, present, and future. People need to develop a shared mindset about the decisions that they make now which will benefit the future. Sustainability requires thinking into the future and making decisions now that benefit the future. Again, it can be measured through surveys.

Discussion among panelists

Professor Managi emphasized that there are many KPIs available especially considering infrastructure. He summarized the KPIs suggested by the panelists, and they include equal access and enforcement, how society provides value to people, attention to vulnerable people, culture, city design, social capital, and time orientation. In summary, some KPIs are possible to measure and available. However, others are not yet available but can be made available through surveys.

Professor Managi then asked the panelists about their agreements and disagreements with the other panelists.

Ms. Wells expressed agreement with Professor Kitamura that road users discovering the traffic issues of their locales and realizing issues are valuable to implement. She also expressed agreement with Ms. Brondum about promoting SDGs through active transport. However, there are certain conditions which do not allow for pedestrians instead of cars, such as climate and infrastructure.

Professor Kitamura expressed agreement with Ms. Wells. A common set of indicators must be set and designed for each country and situation. In low-income and some middle-income countries, there is a lack of public transportation. Rapid motorization has been occurring in low-income countries, so they do not have enough time to develop a public transportation system. He highlighted the importance of time orientation to share values and beliefs of traffic safety as a process indicator because certain countries do not have time to accomplish what other more developed countries have. When discussing KPIs, different time allocated for different countries should be considered. This is not an issue only in low- and middle-income countries but also Japan needs to consider this issue.

Enlightened by Professor Kitamura's explanation on sharing values of traffic safety, Ms. Brondum said that it is important to consider realizing values that we aspire to. Certain values have been given to specific areas. For example, after Rwanda's civil war, the city was rebuilt with an emphasis on supporting walking, as walking had been a part of values equally granted to all citizens to unify the country. Supporting walking also supports health and equality, which was a big part of Rwanda's rehabilitation. She added that health in general can be a value which would enhance a city to design for walking and pedestrians.

Dr. Ward echoed that a key to sustainability is seeing how traffic safety connects to the other efforts and values. It is useful to think of KPIs in three different levels: measuring success with a goal, success in the objectives of what to be tried to do, and the necessary conditions for strategies to be effective.

Some data is available and easily accessible. Other data is more ambiguous and difficult to access. The master plan for a traffic safety scenario cannot be built on the easy data that are available now. It would be valuable to consider how to get the additional data needed for a sustainable future.

Professor Managi then asked about the implications of the non-transport sector that enhance the traffic safety area. Before the panelists answered, Professor Managi summarized the previous answers. Context matters because each country and community have different situations. A system-oriented perspective is important to understand the next steps in the process. In the future, it is important to consider the process of the input to output in a way that data does not exist. Also, after the output, the outcome to aim for should be considered. Safety and infrastructure issues should not only be considered but also how the non-transportation sector connects to the transportation sector shall be considered.

Ms. Wells said that the most important thing that can be done is to focus on the young generations. It is important to equip them with traffic safety knowledge and show them the consequences of traffic safety issues. Curriculum in schools needs to cover wider issues such as walkways and cycling lanes. If children are taught traffic laws and what happens when the laws are not followed, then they can help enforce the laws.

Professor Kitamura echoed what Ms. Wells said about educating the youth. Education is a tool that can be used to help the traffic safety situation, such as, through inquiry-based learning. The government is responsible for traffic safety to a certain extent. Additionally, citizens are also responsible. Therefore, it is important to consider the roles of the government and citizens.

Ms. Brondum also highlighted the importance of educating the young generation because they are involved in traffic fatalities. It is important to educate them to be critical thinkers to solve traffic culture issues. Being concrete about what cities need to improve upon in order to reduce traffic fatalities is important going forward. She highlighted the importance of low speed in traffic fatalities and emphasized that lower speeds also help cities and countries reach traffic fatality and emissions goals.

Dr. Ward responded to the question about how to make sustainable traffic safety relevant to other stakeholders. It is important to consider how the vision for traffic safety and sustainability is described. Appreciative inquiry is a technique of thinking about how to make changes to a new way of operating. A key component of that is creating a vision of the future you are trying to achieve with this whole process, and how the vision is described will affect who is compelled to join in on the journey to the future. For example, if the vision of sustainable traffic safety is described as being zero fatalities, that will interest people mostly in traffic safety and public health. However, if the future vision is described as a future where everybody has the opportunity to reach their full potential or where everybody has an equal opportunity to live a happy and healthy life, it is of interest to many more stakeholders.


Professor Managi then took questions from the audience.

A participant agreed with Ms. Brondum's statement that a society needs to be created which is safe for pedestrians, especially in Japan since there are many school children walking and cycling to school. About Ms. Wells' comments about education, in Japan, children only learn defenses and what should not be done in terms of traffic safety, but they are not taught that they need to change traffic culture. Also, they are not taught about risks and dangers even when rules are followed. Dr. Ward talked about achieving zero fatalities, which is appealing. Traffic fatalities should not be acceptable, so traffic safety must be promoted.

A participant asked about the stages of traffic safety culture development in different countries. For example, in some countries, the use of bicycles has evolved to riding motorcycles, such as in Vietnam. It is difficult for some countries to adapt to such a change in mobility. He asked about how could the traffic safety culture be changed and adapted to mobility development.

Ms. Brondum replied that development is associated with car ownership, and it is based on the notion that car ownership ranks very high. It is important to change this mindset and question why car ownership is valuable to many people.

Professor Kitamura added that reconceptualizing the concept of development and investigating the quality of development are necessary. Improvement of the quality of society and development, as the SDGs promote, is crucial. Individuals in developing countries are aware of the needs of changing the concept of development.

Professor Kitamura then replied to the first comment from the participant. Traffic safety in Japan has to be changed. For the future of traffic safety education, inquiry-based learning has to be introduced more.

Ms. Wells replied that, in the ports and shipping industry, there are international standards unified around the world. However, each country seems to have their own plan with regards to traffic planning. Therefore, it would be valuable to have unified traffic standards to be utilized around the world.

A participant commented that, as a visually impaired individual, crossing roads is difficult. Infrastructure and safety are still insufficient. He added that the concepts and policies of traffic safety for each country are different, and safety is a common concept in every country. An environment needs to be created where everyone can walk with confidence and a sense of safety. The participant then commented that, for the visually impaired, different sounds can be used as signals at intersections. He then asked about the safety education in Sweden.

Professor Managi then read questions submitted in writing by online participants. An online participant asked how to measure culture and how to use culture as a KPI. They added that culture cannot be used as a KPI because it is ever evolving, and many factors interact with each other.

Another question from an online participant was about AI and IoT helping prevent traffic accidents and promote safety.

A question to Ms. Brondum from an online participant was about how to advance traffic safety more in different regions.

A question to Professor Kitamura from an online participant was about the requirements for e-procurement.

Ms. Wells posed a question about visually impaired pedestrians. She asked about the difficulties around having electric vehicles on the road because they are more difficult to hear.

Professor Kitamura said that more technologies for traffic safety education have to be introduced. There are various ways to use technology, but it can be designed for individual needs. For example, educational materials can be individualized through technology. He added that, in Sweden, citizens try to cultivate a sense of ownership and are encouraged to make decisions which influence traffic safety education.

Ms. Brondum added that often in education, not all of the opportunities and risks that can be faced are taught. Shen then replied that promoting safety involves challenges around having no targets or standards agreed upon by different regions. If a country in a region makes a positive change, then they often inspire surrounding countries to also make those changes.

Dr. Ward explained that people talk about culture in terms of what groups of people do, what artifacts the groups make, and how the groups think. These are very broad points. Therefore, our definition of culture must be specific, which is shared beliefs and values. By understanding the shared beliefs of a culture, the understanding can be used to change behavior that beliefs influence. It is possible to measure, but it is difficult. Dr. Ward said that he does not suggest culture as a KPI at the goal level but rather as measuring traffic safety culture as a process condition indicator to track how culture is changing over time.

Professor Managi thanked the panelists and the audience members and closed the panel discussion.

Closing Remarks

Mr. Nobuyuki Kawai


Mr. Nobuyuki Kawai began the closing remarks by thanking the panelists and participants for their discussion on traffic safety culture for a sustainable society.

In the last nine years, GIFTS has been a platform to discuss ways to improve traffic society. Each country has unique challenges with regards to traffic safety. However, it is clear that every citizen is a stakeholder of traffic safety in their community.

Change may be initiated by governments or academic societies, but real change is made person by person. The insight and inspiration from discussions in this symposium will help IATSS formulate future policies which will be shared next year for the 50th anniversary of IATSS. For the last 50 years, IATSS has been pursuing its goal of contributing to the realization of an ideal mobile society. Through discussions at this symposium, we are one step closer to this realization.

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