Global policy and technical leaders are meeting in the Netherlands from today for iRAP’s 2017 Innovation Workshop, focussed to tackle the road infrastructure, safety and investment implications associated with the transition to highly automated vehicles.

The Workshop’s focus comes at a critical time with advancing technologies requiring the priorisation and integration of roads and vehicle investment to ensure safety and value from the money spent.

Whilst ITS and connected vehicle trials are being conducted by a number of progressive road authorities, fleet rotation will take more than a decade and lead times to change infrastructure will be long. Forgiving and self-explaining roads that can be read by cars and humans alike will be essential to safety during the transition period. In particular, specific attention is needed on busy single carriageway roads where most deaths, travel and expenditure occur.

The Innovation Workshop, hosted by EuroRAP, is being held from 8-10 November at the Automotive Campus in Helmond and will be attended by 50 global leaders representing global road authorities, motoring clubs, research institutions and investment banks. The delegates are stakeholders who play a significant role in ensuring that safer infrastructure and safer vehicles deliver their potential in creating a safe road and transport system.

The two day programme includes sessions on policy innovation, the vehicle and infrastructure relationship, the power and application of data, urban innovation, near term investment, and priorities for the future. The presentation of successful global case studies as well as onsite tours of Helmond’s Automotive Campus will provide practical learnings.

5-star vehicles on 5-star roads are key to our attainment of Vision Zero and the UN Decade of Action goal to halve road deaths and injuries by 2020.

New road planning has lead times and payback periods stretching over 50 years and the potential for poor allocation of resources is growing unless critical focus is given to investment priorities from now. The 2017 Innovation Workshop is the start to an important and continuing global conversation.

Innovation 2017 is supported by the Royal Dutch Automobile Club (ANWB), the European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association (ACEA), the FIA Foundation, Road Safety Fund and EuroRAP.

Held annually, the iRAP Innovation Workshops showcase leading innovation in road infrastructure policy, technology, investment and design driving life-saving outcomes around the world. Previous year’s workshops were held in Washington, the UK and Melbourne.