Road Safety: Shell Malaysia partners MIROS on iRAP Programme to improve road safety in Malaysia

Shell Malaysia together with the Malaysian Institute of Road Safety Research (MIROS) will be partnering through the International Road Safety Assessment Programme (iRAP) in order to improve road safety in Malaysia. The partnership was marked with a signing ceremony witnessed by YB Dato' Sri Liow Tiong Lai, Minister of Transport Malaysia. Also present were Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye, Chairman of MIROS, Datuk Seri Hj Saripuddin Hj Kasim - Deputy Secretary General Ministry of Transport Malaysia, Datuk IAIN Lo - Chairman Shell Malaysia, Mr Rob McInerney - CEO of iRAP, Datuk Azman Ismail - MD of Shell Malaysia and Prof Dr Wong Shaw Voon - Director General of MIROS.

Now, iRAP is an international award winning charity organisation dedicated to creating a world without high risk roads through research and evidence.

iRAP uses the experience of developed countries that have a proven track record in infrastructure safety and with the support of local engineers, researchers applies the knowledge and technical processes that are applicable for low and medium income countries. To put in simply, they conduct research and rate roads in developing nations so that their governments can implement measures to improve the overall road condition so that there would be less loss of life and other monetary losses. iRAP has been in Malaysia since 2007 and in 2012, MIROS was appointed the iRAP Centre of Excellence. 

iRAP uses a vehicle outfitted with advanced technology that will analyse highways and roads and then assigns ratings based on the data collected. The ratings, based on a 5-star scale serves as a benchmark to pinpoint where improvements to the roads are needed. Then, the data is used to develop road safety countermeasures designed to prevent road accidents. The data collected by iRAP and MIROS is usually forwarded to the relevant highway and road authorities like the Highway Authority of Malaysia (LLM), the Works Ministry (JKR), local governments and even tolled highway operators (like PLUS etc). MIROS recommends, and it is usually up to the ones that govern and manage the roads that ultimately decide what needs to be done. So there is usually some red tape involved somewhere that needs some straightening out between all parties involved.

Mock cheque presentation ceremony after the signing of the partnership agreement

Anyway, Shell Malaysia's partnership with MIROS will drive R&D activities related to this programme. Shell will basically sponsor RM450,000 the upkeep of  the iRAP programme for a period of three years. An iRAP vehicle or vehicles equipped with the proper equipment would collect data that would then be analysed. iRAP through MIROS hopes to analyse 5000km of expressways and federal roads nationwide during this three year period. The roads analysed would mostly include those utilised by Shell and its contractors who travel up to 50 million kilometers on these roads yearly. Being one of the leading fuel retailers in the country with over 950 retail outlets nationwide and with its drivers plying these roads, Shell hopes that they can use the iRAP ratings for their journey management plans and improve their own road safety measures. Shell Malaysia also hope that the information gathered by the iRAP programme will be shared with the public so that they can also do the same and arrange their journeys to suit road conditions.

Knowledge of the roads shared to everyone could also bring down the number of road fatalities aside from just plain old enforcement and traffic summonses. This is indeed a great initiative if all the information gathered is released so that everyone can benefit. 

Aside from the signing ceremony, MIROS also displayed a fully equipped iRAP data collecting vehicle. This Toyota Fortuner has forward facing cameras covering a wide frontal angle that will record data onto a laptop. The data collected would be send and analysed after each and every trip. The video recordings would be viewed by engineers and road safety experts which would then rate the standard of the roads. No, the Toyota does not have that funny dome like Google Maps cars have. Just some HD cams and lots of cables. 

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