Traffic and transport psychology: what’s work got to do with it?

Associate Professor Ian Glendon

The sixth International Conference on Traffic and Transport Psychology (ICTTP) brought nearly 400 delegates from 36 countries together 2-5 August, including researchers, practitioners, policy-makers, and industry specialists from the fields of public health, law, medicine, economics, law enforcement, public policy, education, human factors and applied psychology. Held every four years since 1996, ICTTP has achieved a highly-regarded reputation as the leading international forum in the field of traffic and transport psychology.

But what does traffic and transport psychology have to do with the workplace I hear you ask!?

Well, think of employers, employees and contractors working in the logistics and transport industries; travelling salespeople; even how you got to work today – did you drive? Perhaps employ some pedal power (as you dodge the swooping magpies at this time of year)? Squish into a train carriage with a few hundred other commuters?

Jointly hosted by Griffith University’s Menzies Health Institute Queensland (MHIQ), and Queensland University of Technology’s Centre for Accident Research and Road Safety — Queensland (CARRS-Q), this was the first time that this conference had been held in the Southern Hemisphere, and only the second time outside of Europe. With a theme of UN Decade of Action for Road Safety: The Half-way Point, this multi-disciplinary event provided an update on worldwide developments, key geographic regions of emerging issues, and at-risk populations. A major event in the Australasian and international traffic psychology calendar, ICTTP2016 was co-chaired byAssociate Professor Ian Glendon (MHIQ and Centre for Work, Organisation and Wellbeing), and Associate Professor James Freeman (CARRS-Q).

The 4-day program included four international and three national keynote speakers, over 220 oral presentations, 70 poster presentations, 12 symposia, and valuable social networking functions including a welcome reception and conference dinner. The program featured world-renowned specialists as well as representatives of the next generation of researchers, practitioners, policymakers, and industry. The latest updates and international findings and best practice related to a wide range of topics, including:

  • Intelligent transport solutions
  • Driver training, assessment, and licensing
  • Impaired driving
  • Road user attitudes and behaviour
  • Vulnerable road users
  • Sustainable transport
  • Road infrastructure and design
  • Driver distraction and inattention
  • Enforcement and behaviour
  • Road safety in the global perspective
  • Road safety education and marketing
  • Public and commercial transport
  • Translating theory into action
  • Data/research methods

Symposia topics included:

  • Understanding human factors implications of automated vehicles: An overview of current projects in Europe, North America and Australia
  • In-vehicle data recording and feedback technologies: Usefulness in improving road safety research and outcomes
  • Attention and awareness in everyday driving
  • Driving and fatigue
  • Fitness to drive
  • Integrating safe systems and systems thinking in road safety research and practice
  • Safety issues in high and low volume cycling countries
  • Bicycle safety and technology: Opportunities and threats
  • Driving patterns and behaviours for older drivers: What we can learn from naturalistic driving research
  • Theory in practice, the strengths and challenges in workplace road safety
  • Early career researchers and PhDs: Exploring post-PhD career paths
  • Traffic psychology in low and middle income countries — Same-same but different?

Keynote speakers and topics included:

  • Dr Barry Watson, CEO, Global Road Safety Partnership, Switzerland — The role of traffic and transport psychology in addressing the global road trauma problem
  • Professor David Strayer, Professor of Cognition and Neural Science, Department of Psychology, University of Utah, USA — Why talking to your car can drive you to distraction
  • Professor Kazumi Renge, President-elect, IAAP Division of Traffic and Transportation Psychology, Japan — Elderly citizens’ behaviour and training in traffic
  • Associate Professor Samuel Charlton, Chair of the School of Psychology, University of Waikato, New Zealand — Getting there: Everyday driving

A special 3-way keynote session on the graduated driver licensing program was also provided by:

  • Associate Professor Teresa Senserrick, TARS, University of NSW
  • Mike Stapleton, Deputy Director-General (Customer Services, Safety & Regulation), Queensland Department of Transport and Main Roads
  • Assistant Commissioner Michael Keating, Road Policing Command, Queensland Police Service

For further conference information, visit the ICTTP2016 website

The final conference session introduced the seventh ICTTP in 2020, which will be the final year of the UN’s Decade of Action on Road Safety. The winning bid, from an exceptionally strong field, was the Swedish National Road and Transport Research Institute (VTI). The seventh ICTTP will be held in Gothenburg, Sweden in August 2020.

(This article was authored by Associate Professor Ian Glendon, with minor alterations by the Centre for Work, Organisation and Wellbeing).