iRAP and usRAP events hosted in Washington, DC

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Jane Newman, Director of Social Finance UK.
Jane Newman, Director of Social Finance UK.
Rob McInerney, CEO of iRAP.
Rob McInerney, CEO of iRAP.
John Roman, University of Chicago.
John Roman, University of Chicago.
Peter Kissinger, AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety.
Peter Kissinger, AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety.
John Roman (University of Chicago), John Dawson (iRAP), Natalie Draisin (FIA Foundation), Katie Klaric (AIP Foundation), Jane Newman (Social Finance UK), Rob McInerney (iRAP).
John Roman (University of Chicago), John Dawson (iRAP), Natalie Draisin (FIA Foundation), Katie Klaric (AIP Foundation), Jane Newman (Social Finance UK), Rob McInerney (iRAP).

iRAP has organised its annual ‘Innovation Workshop’ at the World Bank, with impact investing high on the agenda, and a usRAP policy briefing hosted by the US Federal Highway Safety Administration.

iRAP’s innovation workshop included a domestic component this year, featuring usRAP, which can help the United States save lives on its roads. usRAP is a free innovative and proactive tool for analyzing road safety and generating data driven solutions to correct hazards. It is recognized by the Federal Highway Administration and its Every Day Counts Initiative as a useful device for conducting data-driven safety analysis. Moreover, it is especially useful where traditional crash data is lacking or not reliable, and/or where traffic volumes may be too low to detect patterns, even if there are high-risk designs.

“In 2015 there were 35,092 highway fatalities, which represents a 7.2 percent increase in deaths from 2014,” said Deputy FHWA Administrator David Kim. He emphasized that much progress has been made but more must be done. “This is why we support the use of usRAP,” he said.

National Transportation Safety Board Vice Chairman Dr. Bella Dinh-Zarr echoed his support for the program. “By emphasizing ‘upstream’ improvements to the built environment, it is a program that focuses on prevention and offers practical solutions to protect all of us as road users, whether we’re traveling by foot, bike, motorcycle, car, or bus,” she said.

At a time when road deaths are on the rise in the US, the predictive modeling offered by usRAP is crucial. “usRAP can tell you how many people you’re going to kill,” said Greg Cohen, Executive Director of the Roadway Safety Foundation which oversees usRAP. Rob McInerney, CEO of iRAP quantified the impact, “The cost of road crashes in the US in the next 15 years is 500,000 lives lost, 5 million injuries, and $7 trillion in economic costs.”

The US and other UN member states are feeling pressure to achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goal of halving road deaths and injuries by 2020. iRAP’s innovation workshop at the World Bank from September 21-22 was aimed at catalyzing action and identifying the capacity to achieve that target. iRAP’s goal is to eliminate high-risk roads around the world through innovation, investment, and scaling up successful endeavors.

The workshop included policy and technical leaders, and investment experts and entities with the capacity to implement change and eliminate high-risk roads. Pierre Guislain and Soames Job of the World Bank discussed the role of multi-lateral development banks in preventing deaths and injuries on the roads. As the leading funder of roads, providing $5 billion per year, the World Bank is recognizing its’ vital role in promoting road safety measures.

US Manager Natalie Draisin (main image above) presented the FIA Foundation’s Global Initiative for Child Health and Mobility, which recognizes that children in particular are in need of protection on our roads. She discussed the inclusion of the Initiative’s goal for a safe and healthy route to school for all children in the latest draft of the UN Habitat III New Urban Agenda. The Agenda outlines the future of sustainable urbanization. “This means more governments should be seeking to put children and schools at the center of their efforts to create safe and healthy environments,” she said.

iRAP recognizes that making roads around schools safer makes the community safer. Julio Urzua of iRAP presented on the star rating for schools methodology, adapted to suit the particular environment. The organization is endeavoring to scale up this effort.

The innovation workshop concluded with the launch of the FIA Foundation’s new social impact investing report, Investing to Save Lives. “We are at the turning point of a new era for road safety. It has joined the international public health ranks of HIV/AIDS, TB, malaria, childhood disease, and air pollution. But unless we can get funding, the target - to halve the number of deaths and injuries on our roads - will just remain words on paper,” Draisin said.

There is a narrow window of opportunity for engaging new interest and new partners, demonstrating results and bringing in new finance. Jane Newman, Director of Social Finance UK, who authored the report along with Impact Strategist, agreed. She said, “We are at the forefront of thinking about how conventional investing instruments can be oriented to have a social impact, and attract others to the field. The next piece is to figure out how we turn this into action, because it’s too important not to take it forward.” Newman focused on how increased preventive spend will decrease reactive spend, and total spend. This concept is represented in the report’s two case studies from Cambodia and Australia with the help of iRAP and the AIP Foundation, represented at the workshop by Katie Klaric.

John Dawson, Chairman of iRAP, praised the report, “We’ve been presented for the first time with the detailed financial benefits of road safety investments. We have exposed the real costs of claims, and that itself is a remarkable advocacy tool.” John Roman of the University of Chicago emphasized that “There are more dollars chasing social impacts than there are places to invest. Road safety is a strong investment option because when someone is in a crash, the effects are like throwing a pebble in a pond. They extend beyond morbidity and mortality to lost productivity, family, and the entire community.”

Download the FIA Foundation’s new social impact investing report, 'Investing to Save Lives'