The International Conference on Traffic Safety, which was organized by the Emirates Traffic Safety Society under the slogan “Road safety management and Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS)” in collaboration with the Arab Organization for Traffic Safety; the International Road safety Organization (La Prévention Routière Internationale ‘PRI’); and the joint Safety and Traffic Solutions Committee (STSC), concluded its activities in Abu Dhabi. At the concluding session, participants recommended that a national plan should be developed in order to identify the priorities for integrating smart transport system applications and the need to unify standards and specifications adopted by the various competent authorities. They also called for enhancing communication and coordination with the traffic-related authorities in the country and research institutions, so as to develop and improve the efficiency of the existing intelligent systems, and to implement scientific research outcomes in the field of innovative and advanced intelligent transport systems in the UAE.

Moreover, they called for facilitating the full integration of intelligent transport systems and for implementing them in transport policies in order to improve traffic safety by aligning technical standards and requirements and technical specifications; so as to facilitate the integration of intelligent transport system technologies in the market while ensuring users’ acceptance. They also recommended the use of intelligent transport systems to ensure a streamlined traffic flow; as well as improving case management to provide better and faster care to traffic accident victims. They also called for speed reduction on roads, by setting speed limits in urban areas and other road networks; developing a legislative framework to control vehicles and revising existing legislations to align them with the use of intelligent transport systems; endeavoring to reduce violation of rules and laws, and striving to identify road accident dangers while driving with the support of vehicle drivers.

Within the discourse of the conference, attendees called for action by implementing the established strategies, via a proposed methodology that may be adopted by allocating a special budget for traffic safety; facilitating access to accidents’ databases and causes; providing a sustainable evaluation of road users’ behaviors; calling for the exchange of good practices; permanent and continuous development of road infrastructure related to safety support; and examining the possibility to introduce a Graduated Drivers License (GDL) for young drivers and new penalties’ system; as well as publishing safety strategies results and the decisions taken in this regard.

They also stressed the need to encourage assessment of decision effectiveness in the field of traffic safety in order to reduce the number of fatalities and injured in road accidents, while improving access to the database available with the concerned entities. They also called for intensifying surveillance via unmanned drones; in conjunction with educational awareness campaigns; adopting modern technologies and intelligent transport systems within the legal framework when planning traffic management and implementing traffic schemes.

Participants in the conference also called for adopting high-quality data related to accidents in order to improve the quality of available information; so as to contribute to better decision-making in safety management and linking accidents data with intelligent transport systems projects’ databases in order to determine road design safety and the quality of vehicles; and to analyze the different traffic behaviors.

They also stressed the importance of availing automated vehicles, and supporting human interaction with these technologies, which require intensified efforts to improve knowledge and acceptance of drivers of such smart technologies. They also recommended setting priorities to come up with safety and security techniques in vehicles, which would be related to risk factors in the UAE or the region.

The International Conference on Traffic Safety continued its activities on the second day, where experts and lecturers presented and discussed papers in two sessions. Joop Goos, President of “PRI”, chaired the first session, which saw the presentation of six papers.

Erik Donkers, President of “Via Technologies” in the Netherlands, presented the first paper, which discussed the features of using “Star” system (Smart Reporting of Traffic Accidents). The second paper discussed the topic of smart roads readable by the vehicles, paving the way to safety, which was presented by Kyriaki Arampidou, Head of Communications at the European Union Road Federation. Ashutosh Atray, Director of the Institute of Road Traffic Education, presented the third paper discussing the use of Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS) within the bus system in Andoor, India.

The fourth paper, presented by Eng. Abdullah bin Ahmed Al Saleh and Eng. Abdul Rahman bin Abdul Aziz bin Aqeel from Saudi Arabia, discussed traffic management system project, and the traffic light management and control in Riyadh. Jaime Moreno, Deputy Director of Mobility Management at the Traffic General Directorate in Spain, presented the fifth paper discussing smart vehicles and the Spanish autonomous driving strategy. The last paper presented by Eng. Arif Mahmoud, Traffic Safety Specialist – Main Roads Section, Department of Transport in Abu Dhabi, which discussed the quantum leap in designing sustainable transport systems.

The second session, chaired by Afif al Fariqi, President of the Arab Organization for Traffic Safety discussed five papers. The first paper was presented by Col. Eng. Ahmed Salim Al Warawra, Director of the Jordan Traffic Institute, in the Hashmite Kingdom of Jordan, which discussed the use of ITS in Jordan. The second paper discussed ITS and traffic in Istanbul, and was presented by Ali Osman Atahan, Director of Engineering Division at Istanbul Technical University.

Dr. Yaser Hawas, Director, Roadway, Transportation and Traffic Safety Research Center (RTTSRC) at UAE University presented the third paper, which discussed the latest transportation technologies, current status, challenges and opportunities. Alan Arel, General Manager of Portuguese Council for Accidents Prevention presented the fourth paper discussing the topic of road safety management and ITS. The last paper discussed the efficiency of independent emergency brakes in urban areas, and was presented by Antida Aversa, Head of Education and Driving Department at the Automobile Club of Italy.

Towards the end of both sessions, the floor was opened for discussions, where experts and lecturers answered the questions and queries of participants in the conference.

Jose Miguel Trigoso, Chairman of the Portuguese Council for Accidents Prevention, gave a speech towards the end of the conference, by which he expressed his thanks to officials at the Emirates Traffic Safety Society (ETSS) for the good organization of the conference, which took place under the patronage of H.H Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior. He also stressed the importance of implementing a strategy to achieve traffic safety on roads.

Retired Brigadier Hassan Ahmed Al Hosani, Secretary General of the Emirates Traffic Safety Society, also gave a speech at the conference on behalf of the audience and participants, by which he expressed appreciation and gratitude to the sponsor, H.H Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior for his generosity and keenness to support the endeavors aimed at promoting traffic safety.

He said: “The Emirates Traffic Safety Society has been keen to tackle the conference’s topic, in cooperation with the Arab Organization for Traffic Safety, the International Road safety Organization (La Prévention Routière Internationale ‘PRI’); and the joint Safety and Traffic Solutions Committee (STSC), and your esteemed support in order to reach important recommendations that would be leveraged in reality and share the expertise of those who preceded us in this field.”

Retired Brigadier Al Hosani extended his heartfelt thanks to the experts and lecturers for their active participation in the conference that enriched the discussions on this important topic, which needs further follow-up and study, in order to benefit from the latest advanced techniques in this field, to enhance road safety, and prevent traffic accidents’ risks and their resulting losses in lives and property. He also noted that the papers presented during the sessions have created an added value to the conference, and will undoubtedly influence traffic safety positively and instill traffic safety concepts among concerned entities and road users alike. He also thanked all parties that provided material and moral support to organize the conference, which contributed significantly to its success.

Upon conclusion of the conference, Engineer Saleh Rashed Al Dhaheri, Vice Chairman of the Emirates Traffic Safety Society, accompanied by Joob Goos, President of the International Road safety Organization; Afif al Fariqi, President of the Arab Organization for Traffic Safety; Retired Brigadier Hassan Ahmed Al Hosani, Secretary General of the Emirates Traffic Safety Society; presented commemorative shields to participating and sponsoring parties and honored sessions’ moderators, experts and lecturers that took part in the conference.

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