ICTCT came to life in the 1970s from a desire for co-operation among researchers interested in developing traffic conflict techniques as a complement to injury accident data.
Observation of ‘conflicts’ or ‘near-accidents’ in road traffic was first applied in the USA in the 60’s and the approach was imported to Europe in the early 70s, first by TRRL in UK and then by Lund University in Sweden. From then on, other teams in Germany, Norway, France, Canada, Finland, the Netherlands, Austria and Israel got interested, too. Co-operation between the teams rapidly became very intense, and in 1977 the first workshop on traffic conflicts was organised in Oslo, Norway. ICTCT (at that time International Co-operation in Traffic Conflict Techniques) was officially created, though still as an informal association. In 1979, the first International Calibration Study was organized in Rouen, France, where five teams from France, Germany, Great Britain, Sweden and USA compared their operational definitions and data collection procedures in details.
ICTCT organized two more international Joint Calibration Studies, in Sweden (1983) and Austria (1985), involving ten different teams. Meanwhile, statistical methodologies were developed in Toronto and Lund Universities to validate traffic conflicts as accident surrogates. Several doctor theses have been published on the concept of traffic conflicts, new traffic conflict techniques, their validation, the continuum of traffic events with regard to their severity, and on usability of the conflict technique in developing countries.
By the end of the 80s, traffic conflict techniques were commonly used by researchers and became an operational tool for some practitioners (Road Police in Germany, National Road Administration in Sweden, local authorities in France, etc.).
Following these achievements, the focus of ICTCT widened to general theories and concepts enabling researchers and practitioners to work on road safety without having to rely solely on scarce or insufficient accident data. In 1988, the ICTCT association (from that time International Co-operation on Theories and Concepts in Traffic Safety) was formally registered under Austrian law. Since then, ICTCT organized annual thematic workshops and published the proceedings. It took as a special endeavour to bridge the communication gap between researchers from the West and Central and Eastern Europe, two worlds that have been separated for decades by the iron curtain. More recently, ICTCT also started organizing extra workshops in non-European countries such as India, Japan, Canada, and Brazil.