First publishedin ITS International
The International Road Federation has issued a wake up call to government ministers, in the form of its Vienna Manifesto on ITS.
Four years on from coming to a key decision on ITS, the International Road Federation
(IRF) now faces a further question – how can it ensure its Vienna Manifesto on ITS achieves maximum impact? This is a challenge the organisation is not taking lightly. Issues the manifesto has been drawn up to address have become more acute in the time taken to publish it and are forecast to worsen still, unless policymakers grasp the scale of problems on their roads.
“Around 1.3 million people die every year on the world’s roads, many more suffer grave injuries and millions of families have to live with the trauma of losing a loved one. It is about time the world woke up to this problem and made greater use of ITS technology to help solve it,” said IRF chairman KK Kapila at the launch of the Vienna Manifesto at the 2012 ITS World Congress
in the Austrian capital in October. “For reducing environmental impact and improving mobility also, it makes real sense to develop and deploy ITS systems. We are saying wake up, do something about it and do it now.”
A considerable feat
The Vienna Manifesto comes as the result of a meeting at the 2008 ITS World Congress in New York. The IRF, realising that more needed to be done globally to bring ITS to the attention of government ministers, charged its policy committee with the task of developing the manifesto, drawing in views and expertise worldwide. This is no mean feat, given that more than 70 individuals and organisations contributed to the document’s production.
About a year of policy committee meetings on different continents were dedicated to setting the initiative’s remit and terms of reference – the specific objectives of the manifesto. Then followed two years of detailed discussion and drafting of content before a final year of writing and editing.
The outcome is a policy document designed to brief government ministers and their agencies on all ITS has to offer for improving road safety and individuals’ mobility and quality of life. The Vienna Manifesto calls on political leaders to undertake six key policy actions. Under each heading, it also expands on its main recommendations, such as (under A: Incorporate ITS in existing transport policies) the need for policymakers to put in place a comprehensive framework setting out how transport might be improved.
To paraphrase the Vienna Manifesto: Governments’ policy frameworks should address the role of mobility in economic and social development. They should also address the role of technology in keeping mobility sustainable, in reducing fatalities, travel time delays, congestion and environmental impact, while creating jobs and innovation. Policy frameworks should address associated policies, such as investments in public transport or tax incentives that encourage ‘green’ mobility choices; and they should aim to educate the general public about intelligent use of road networks and services available – contributing on a macro level to more sustainable travel patterns.
The IRF's Vienna Manifesto recommends six policy actions to unleash the full potential of ITS and its societal benefits