More than 50 leading road safety practitioners from across Europe attended the EuroRAP General Assembly in Barcelona between 7-9 June.

Hosted by EuroRAP member, the Royal Automobile Club of Catalonia, the 15th annual assembly focused on the challenges faced by European countries as they strive to meet the challenge of halving road fatalities and serious injuries from 2010 levels by 2020.

EuroRAP chairman Ferry Smith told delegates that between 2017-2020 an estimated 75,000 people in Europe will lose their lives in road crashes. A further 900,000 will be seriously injured in road crashes.

‘Over the last decade half a million people have been killed or suffered serious trauma on Europe’s roads,’ he said. ‘This is equivalent to 5 traumas per km on our main roads.’ Ferry told delegates that after a long term continual decline in road deaths since 2000, the number of road deaths was rising. In the European Union, deaths had risen from 25,700 in 2014 to 26,000 in 2015. He said that in his native Netherlands deaths had increased from 570 in 2014 to 621 in 2016.

This year’s Assembly attracted delegates from across Europe with many new faces from highways authorities. Italy was strongly represented with delegates from the national motorway company ANAS and the transportation research organisation SINA. Portugal, who recently re-joined EuroRAP was represented and over a dozen delegates represented Spain and Catalonia.

Among this year’s key conference headlines were:

• The announcement of a 12 country proposal for improving roads in the Danube region through the RADAR project
• Spain announced that its national network would be star rated
• Portugal announced that it had completed its pilot and was now considering a full programme
• Further details of the CycleRAP module were announced

View our Flickr Gallery of the Assembly events here!

The Assistant Deputy Director of Circulation for Spain’s National Traffic Authority, Ana Blanco, used the nation’s experience of traffic death reduction as an inspirational example for what could be achieved – and also an exemplar of the challenges facing many governments and road authorities. Between 2000-13 road deaths had plunged from 5,776 to 1,680, she said. Since 2013, in common with many European countries, the death rate had plateaued.

‘Spain is among the top performing countries regarding road safety,’ she said. ‘But we need to implement short and medium term plans if we’re going to continue our progress towards our ultimate zero death objective

Innovative approaches to further reducing road deaths were at the core of many presentations. The Group Manager for Highways England’s Safer Roads Group, Richard Leonard, described how using star ratings in conjunction with demanding Key Performance Indicators was delivering continuous improvement and development that was saving lives on England’s strategic road network. Deaths and serious injuries on the network had fallen by 40% with a planned further reduction of 200 deaths by 2020, he said.

Highways England outstanding work was honoured when it was named as one of the joint winners of this year’s EuroRAP ‘Special Contribution’ award.

Speaking after the Assembly, EuroRAP Chairman Ferry Smith said: ‘This was a great conference, full of passion and commitment to saving lives. It was very good to see such a wide representation from across Europe and to see people embracing star ratings as an effective way to save lives. The challenge now for all of us is to take away this learning and passion and make sure we campaign as hard as we can for safer roads to save lives.’

View all the presentations here:

Welcome to the EuroRAP 2017 Assembly: Ferry Smith, Chairman of EuroRAP

EuroRAP’s Priorities: Ferry Smith, EuroRAP

An insider’s view from the outside: Miquel Nadal, Executive Director RACC Foundation and iRAP Board member

Road Safety in Spain – ‘Measures for Safer Roads’: Ana Blanco, DGT

Using EuroRAP in Catalonia: Xavier Flores, Government of Catalonia

Progress in England: John Dawson, EuroRAP

Road Surveys in Portugal: Mario Martins da Silva, ACP

Star Ratings for the Strategic Road Network: Richard Leonard, Highways England

EuroRAP activity beyond 2017: Steve Lawson

iRAP and EuroRAP Partnerships to Save Lives: Rob McInerney, iRAP

Technical Update 2017: James Bradford, EuroRAP

CycleRAP: Marianne Dwarshuis, ANWB, and James Bradford, iRAP

Pilot project for National Roads in Poland: Alexandra Romanowska, Gdansk University of Technology, Poland

Pan-European Risk Map Bench Marking: John Dawson, EuroRAP