25-26 April 2019, Shanghai, China - The United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) and its International Training Centre for Authorities and Leaders in Shanghai (CIFAL Shanghai) in collaboration with the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences (SASS), Tongji University and AB InBev, hosted the two-day “Road Safety and Digital Innovation: Asia-Pacific Conference” in Shanghai, with a focus on using innovative solutions to address road safety issues.
Using new technology such as smart traffic light and traffic control systems, artificial intelligence, the use of telematics and automotive technology can contribute to prevent and reduce the number of road related accidents and improve road safety. Mobile network and fast data transmission solutions can be used, for instance, to collect data on vehicles on the road and condition of roads, as well to provide real-time weather information and warnings. Ultimately with the objective of reducing accidents.
Attended by over 80 government officials, experts and business leaders from China and the Asia-Pacific region to exchange best practices and ideas on how technology can be applied to enhance road safety. The conference focused on China's road safety and innovative digital solutions to reducing traffic casualties.
Mr. Ding Bin, Director of Publicity Center of Traffic Police Headquarters of the Shanghai Public Security Bureau stressed that digital tools have been playing a significant role in Shanghai's management and supervision of motor vehicles on roads. Shanghai has around 8 million registered motor vehicles, including private cars, commercial trucks and motor bikes, with around 5 million of them in use each day. "Around 40,000 cases of traffic violations are caught in Shanghai each day, and electronic police [automatic detection and measurement technology to catch traffic violations or accidents] contribute a lot to the work," Ding said. "Currently around 38 types of electronic police are in use citywide."
Mr. Sangwon Lee, traffic safety instructor at the Education Department of KoRoad in South Korea shared his views on how speed cameras and smart traffic light cameras are widely used in South Korea to monitor drivers' behavior and make roads safer. "By using the camera, we check the traffic and speed violation for 24 hours and increase the fairness of enforcement," he said.
Mr. Jan Craps, CEO and president of APAC, AB InBev shared about the company’s collaboration with traffic police departments of the Shanghai Public Security Bureau and Tongji University over the past four years to implement a range of programs including 'analysis and improvement of accident-prone roads' and 'behavioral-analysis-based commercial drive safety education' that have led to positive results and to effectively reduced road traffic casualty rates in Shanghai.
During the inaugural ceremony, Ambassador Luis Gallegos, Permanent Representative of Ecuador to the United Nations in New York stressed “the high road death toll and crash rates are unacceptable. All actors have a key role to play in preventing road traffic fatalities and injuries”.
During the conference, a Roundtable Discussion with industry leaders took place to discuss the opportunities, challenges and best practices on digital innovations for road safety. The discussion was moderated by Ms. Estrella Merlos from UNITAR and featured leaders from the automotive and telecommunications industry, and from high-tech companies including Mr. Herminio Lomibao, Department Head of the Honda Safety Driving Centre at Honda Philippines Inc. Dr. GU Jianmin, China CTO at Valeo Group, Mr. Viren Dhulla, Vice President & Head - Corporate Health Safety & Wellbeing at Vodafone India, Mr. CHEN Chaozhuo, Vice President of ZongMu Technology Co. Ltd and Dr. ZHANG Lin, President, Freetech Intelligent Systems Co. Ltd.
Constant education on road safety at all levels, stronger personal commitment, and public-private collaboration as necessary components to improve road safety were highlighted by the speakers. Empathy was also highlighted as key ingredient to make roads safer. “There is a need for a common understanding that road safety is a collective responsibility. In this sense, educating the general public about the importance of addressing the problem of road traffic accidents and raising awareness of road safety risk factors is essential”, Ms. Merlos concluded.