Delft University puts international students on course for a safer future

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The course encouraged collaboration between participants.
The course encouraged collaboration between participants.
Fieldtrips and practical applications were an important part of the training.
Fieldtrips and practical applications were an important part of the training.

Road safety professionals from low- and middle-income countries took part in this year’s Delft Road Safety Course, supported by the FIA Foundation, to learn about new ideas and take home new ambitions for safer streets.

The Delft Road Safety Course (DRSC) is a cooperation between Delft University of Technology, SWOV Institute for Road Safety Research, Delft Post Graduate Education and Road Safety for All in Delft, Holland. The two-week-long post-graduate course is an evidence-based and data-driven programme designed to build capacity of road safety professionals in low- and middle-income countries based on the Safe Systems approach.

This year’s 26 alumni came from 21 countries across the world, including Bangladesh, Chile, Nigeria, Romania, Barbados, and Vietnam, with backgrounds in public policy, academia, civil engineering, and fundraising as well as a broad range of road safety management, enforcement, research and campaigning.

Topics throughout the course included data collection, campaigning, and enforcement, as well as monitoring and evaluation presented by Dutch and international experts. The course was led by human behavioural psychologist Professor Divera Twisk, from the Queensland University of Technology, Australia, based at the Center for Accident Research and Road Safety (CARRS-Q).

Beyond theory, the course encourages active participation through discussions, teamwork and hands-on assignments for participants to, among others, design advocacy and awareness campaigns, analyse and interpret crash data, and use road safety decision-making supports such as SafetyCube. Fieldtrips were made to South Holland to see sustainable safe road infrastructure, and to Amsterdam City Hall to visit the Transport Department and learn how the Dutch capital has dealt with urban challenges, focusing on transportation planning for safer streets and urban spaces design for all the road users.

Differences between countries’ road safety legislature, culture and enforcement change the context, making it impossible to replicate another region’s Safe System in its entirety. This is why the course focuses on empowering participants to critically analyse the Dutch application and apply the learnings to their own situations. The final assignment of the course was to develop a road safety strategy for each participant’s country by outlining the primary challenges, describing how the safe systems approach can be adapted and provide a five-year action plan based on the five pillars of road safety. This is a collaborative project between participants, allowing them to learn from each other’s experience in the field, training and education and motivation. The importance of good partnership and tapping into a shared pool of knowledge and skills is a key element of the programme’s design.

At the closing ceremony, DRSC course leader Dr Divera Twisk congratulated alumni on their exceptional hard work and dedication, calling for each and every one of them to reach out to partners at home to share their learnings and to use their new alumni network to support their work going forward.

Rita Cuypers, Partnerships Director of the FIA Foundation, said: “The Delft Road Safety Course is an exceptional programme that gives road safety specialists from around the world the opportunity to build both an academic and practical understanding of Safe Systems. The course also creates an international network to provide support and share knowledge to help make roads around the world safer for everyone.”