Preventing Road Crashes and Saving Lives

Preventing Road Crashes and Saving Lives

  • The Statement
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The International Road Assessment Programme (iRAP) is a registered charity established to help tackle the devastating social and economic cost of road crashes. The charity’s vision is for a world free of high-risk roads. In this project, 50 technology changemakers are building AI based solutions to map the crash risk on roads. Together we can save thousands of lives every year.


The problem

Road crashes are the biggest killer of young people worldwide aged 5 to 29 years. The tragedy of death and injury impacts every community on earth. Based on current trends 500 million people will suffer life-changing brain, spinal, limb, and internal injuries or be killed in road crashes between now and 2030. The economic cost will be more than US$25 trillion. Almost half of those killed will be vulnerable road users – motorcyclists, bicyclists, and pedestrians. Low-income and middle-income countries, where nine out of ten of the world’s road deaths occur, will suffer the most impact from this global road safety crisis.

iRAP is a registered charity established to help tackle the devastating social and economic cost of road crashes. The charity’s vision is for a world free of high-risk roads.

Our problem is to map the crash risk on every road on earth for each type of road user; identify the infrastructure design, speed, and volume features that influence that risk, and produce the data on a regular basis to drive visibility, accountability, action, and performance tracking. See this link  for a sample of progress.

Simple infrastructure treatments including well-designed intersections, safe roadsides, and appropriate road cross-sections can significantly decrease the risk of motorized vehicle crashes occurring and the severity of crashes that do occur. Speed management, sidewalks, pedestrian crossings, and bicycle paths can substantially cut the risk that pedestrians and bicyclists will be killed or injured. Motorcycle lanes can minimize the risk of death and injury for motorcyclists.

iRAP already works with partners all around the world to apply the iRAP Global Standard in assessing the crash risk on a road and the associated Star Rating performance of road infrastructure. There are separate Star Ratings for pedestrians, cyclists, motorcyclists, and vehicle occupants to reflect the road features that support the safe travel of each road user. A 1-star road is the least safe and 5-star is the safest, with the risk of death or serious injury halving for each incremental improvement in star rating.


AI Road Safety


Road Assessment Programme partnerships are now active in more than 100 countries worldwide. More than 1,000,000 km of roads have been assessed and iRAP data has helped make over US$75 billion of road investment safer. Star Rating assessments are currently completed using specially commissioned video surveys or, where available and recent enough, Street View or similar public image data.

The images are manually coded by trained coding teams with the cost and procurement challenges of these assessments limiting the scale and frequency of data collection.


The project goals

Big data and AI can play a lead role in building the social and economic business case for safer roads and create the scale of change needed to save lives. The accelerated and intelligent collection and coding of road attribute data (Ai-RAP) has the potential to reduce the time and effort required to undertake road safety assessments, reduce costs, improve accuracy and ideally make data available for every road and every journey.  The Ai-RAP initiative aims to unlock this potential with the following goals:

  • Source geo-located crash data and produce iRAP Risk Maps of the historical crashes per kilometer and crashes per kilometer traveled for each road user
  • Source road attribute, traffic flow, and speed data to the iRAP global standard and map the safety performance and Star Rating of more than 100 million km’s of road worldwide
  • Produce repeatable road infrastructure key performance indicators that can form the basis of annual performance tracking


Together with iRAP’s global partnerships and Star Rating models, Ai-RAP has the potential to put this road safety data at the fingertips of road authorities, policy-makers, investors, and road users worldwide. Together we can save thousands of lives every year.


The data

iRAP partners worldwide have already collected more than 1 million km of road data over the last 20 years. A sample of that data has been presented in the charity’s Vaccines for Roads resource and Big Data tool (check this and this link).

The raw Star Rating data includes more than 50 road, traffic flow, and speed attributes every 100 meters along the road coded to the same global standard. Specifications are available for each attribute to ensure global consistency for assessment and reporting. Calculated fields include an estimate of deaths and serious injuries of each crash type and each road user along the road, Star Ratings for each road user, and an optimized investment plan to detail the cost-effective treatments that will save lives. An example of potential Ai-RAP source and coded data is provided below.


Crash Risk AI


Crash Risk Mapping data is also available in selected locations worldwide where actual historical crash data has been analyzed to provide a measure of risk along a road (e.g. crashes per km and crashes per km traveled). See Road Safety Foundation and the EuroRAP UK web portal for the best example of this data.

Training on the iRAP protocols will be made available for the Omdena team. Where relevant, access to the analysis and reporting software ViDA will be provided to understand the nature of existing data sets and information and how new AI solutions can deliver more efficient or innovative ways for the future.


The impact

The United Nations Sustainable Development Goal is to halve road deaths and injuries by 2030 and includes targets to ensure all new roads are 3-star or better for all road users and that by 2030 more than 75% of travel is on 3-star or better roads for pedestrians, cyclists, motorcyclists and vehicle occupants respectively.

iRAP estimates that achieving those targets will save an estimated 450,000 lives every year and prevent more than 100,000,000 deaths and injuries over the effective life of the road upgrades.  The burden of road trauma on individuals, families, communities, and health systems will be significantly reduced. More than $8 of savings will be generated from every $1 invested.

AI Road Safety



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