International Road Assessment Programme reaches 100 countries

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iRAP has star rated more than a million km of road, and trained more than 19,000 engineers.
iRAP has star rated more than a million km of road, and trained more than 19,000 engineers.
iRAP trains in-country engineers and fosters international partnership. Here ChinaRAP engineers work with counterparts in Cambodia.
iRAP trains in-country engineers and fosters international partnership. Here ChinaRAP engineers work with counterparts in Cambodia.

iRAP is celebrating reaching a milestone 100 countries. The charity and its partners are now working with road authorities to save lives in more than half the countries of the world, accounting for 80% of the world’s population.

From Brazil to Iceland, Australia to Botswana, China to Slovakia, the International Road Assessment Programme and its partners have Star Rated more than 1 million kilometres of roads, trained 19,000 engineers and influenced safety in over US$68 billion of safer road investment, in its vision for a world free of high risk roads. The FIA Foundation is the core donor to iRAP, providing at least €1 million a year in grant support.

Marking the milestone, iRAP CEO Rob McInerney paid tribute to iRAP staff, partners and the many thousands of people who have embraced the charity’s vision for a world free of high-risk roads. He thanked the FIA Foundation and key global and regional programme partners like the World Bank Global Road Safety Facility, Bloomberg Philanthropies, European Commission, Regional Development Banks, FedEx and ACEA who have supported and worked with the programme.

“At the core of the iRAP partnerships is the energy, commitment and close partnerships of governments, mobility clubs, development banks, NGOs and road safety stakeholders working together to make their roads safer at a country level”, Rob McInerney said. This local ownership is the key to implementing iRAP’s tools, training and support in the most powerful and locally relevant way. We’ve seen great examples of national partners helping each other, for example ChinaRAP helping Pakistan, Spain helping Portugal, IndiaRAP helping Tanzania, Mexico helping Brazil and the local programme leads from Malaysia, Thailand, India and China all cooperating to share their success and impact.”

FIA Foundation Executive Director Saul Billingsley, who also serves on the board of iRAP, welcomed the achievement: “The Foundation has invested in and worked with iRAP for more than fifteen years because we recognise its transformative potential. iRAP has introduced much-needed transparency and accountability into the road management sector, working in partnership with governments, road authorities and development banks to identify, and increasingly, deliver road design improvements. These are saving lives and preventing serious injuries which are a human tragedy and an immense and unnecessary cost to economies and health systems. Our Foundation’s investment has been repaid many times over. We now need to persuade more governments to make their own investments towards this vision of a world free of high risk roads.”

Now active in 100+ countries, key iRAP highlights include:

  • New countries added in the last year include Azerbaijan, Benin, Botswana, Cameroon, Dominica, Haiti, Iran, Morocco, Rwanda and Samoa.
  • ChinaRAP has star rated 250,000km of roads and upgraded 100,000km as part of the Highway Safety to Cherish Life initiative. More than US$5+ billion has been invested in safety countermeasures.
  • The IndiaRAP programme has already seen 2,500 engineers trained and the star rating of over 23,000kms of roads, including 5,000km on the Golden Quadrilateral. Recent upgrades on the Belgaum-Yaragatti Highway SH20, financed by the World Bank in Karnataka, slashed fatalities by half.
  • In Australia, the Federal Government has announced a A$2.2 billion road safety fund and has national policy targets for more than 80% of travel on 3-star or better roads by 2020. The AusRAP programme has now assessed over 238,000km of roads and upgrades on a high-volume section of Queensland’s Bruce Highway by the Australian and Queensland Government are a great example of its work seeing the road stretch taken from 2 and 3-star to 4 and 5-star with an associated 83% reduction in fatalities.
  • Exciting plans are underway in Europe with the €2.15 million RADAR project involving 12 countries over 3 years in the Eastern Europe Danube region and the €1.9 million Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) SLAIN Project involving 4 countries. These projects, along with a new EuroRAP Secretary General and support staff will enhance road infrastructure safety and partner support in the region.
  • In the UK, the Road Safety Foundation has successfully delivered investment plans as part of the UK DoT Safer Roads Fund. With the recent launch of the 2019 Annual Risk Mapping Results, the UK has now risk mapped nearly 700,000kms.
  • Malaysia is a regional leader in improving the safety of its road network. The Malaysian Government is committed to achieving 75% of travel at a 3-star or better performance level on the country’s high volume road network by 2020. 95% of their expressway network is rated 3-star or better and 435 sites have been upgraded.
  • 47,000kms of light star rating assessments have been conducted in Thailand and Chulalongkorn University is leading ThaiRAP as an iRAP Centre of Excellence.
  • Assessments of more than 14,000km of Abertis toll roads in 8 countries and associated training of staff in Abertis subsidiary companies have now been completed. Work is underway with a number of private sector concessionaires globally including Australia, Italy, Indonesia, Brazil, Peru and Chile.
  • An increasing number of countries have set national policy targets for 3-star or better roads (e.g. UK, Malaysia, New Zealand, Sweden, China, Netherlands, Australia and Chile) and many international agencies (e.g. UN, World Bank, ADB, Caribbean Development Bank, UNESCAP, Millennium Challenge Corporation) are encouraging and supporting project level targets for road upgrades to ensure 3-star or better journeys for all road users in support of the UN Member State agreed global road safety performance targets.

iRAP also plays an important role in supporting global road safety policies and encouraging a coordinated approach to assessment. Star Rating targets are now specified by the United Nations, World Health Organisation, Sum4All and Road Safety Observatories. iRAP’s Big Data Tool and Business Case for Safer Roads supports national partners to understand the performance of their roads and the economic and life-saving potential in reaching UN Voluntary Road Safety Targets 3 and 4 by 2030. Globally, this could mean 467,000 lives saved a year with a benefit of US$8 for every $1 spent.

iRAP’s training and accreditation programme is helping to build road safety capacity in countries and ensure iRAP-specification activities are conducted to the same consistently high level of quality worldwide.

As a charity, iRAP’s tools and support are provided free to governments, mobility clubs, development banks, NGOs and road safety stakeholders to make their roads safer. With 90% of road fatalities occurring in low and middle income countries, this free-to-air structure ensures support is targeted for greatest life-saving impact. This is enabled through core financial support from the FIA Foundation. Ten Centres of Excellence around the world ensure the technical governance of iRAP’s evidence-based protocols. iRAP has innovation partnerships with governments, mobility clubs, industry and research groups to ensure innovative ideas from one programme partner can be shared immediately with others for mutual benefit.