ICTCT’s history starts from 1970s when researchers interested in traffic conflict techniques, seen as a complement to injury accident data, realised the need for co-operation and exchange of experiences.
Observation of traffic conflicts in road traffic was first applied in the USA in the 60’s and the approach was imported to Europe in the early 70’s. The first adopters were TRRL in UK and then Lund University in Sweden. From then on, other teams in Germany, Norway, France, Canada, Finland, 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 took place in Oslo, Norway. ICTCT (at that time International Co-operation in Traffic Conflict Techniques) was born, though still as an informal network.
Calibration studies and national traffic conflict techniques
In 1979, ICTCT organised the first International Calibration Study in Rouen, France. Five teams from France, Germany, Great Britain, Sweden and USA compared their operational traffic conflict definitions and data collection procedures in detail. Later, ICTCT co-ordinated two more international 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 1980s, 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.).
Official registration and new horizons
Following these achievements, the focus of ICTCT widened to all types of problems in traffic safety. As before, improvement of methods and tools to work with road safety without relying solely on scarce accident data was among the core interests. In 1988, the ICTCT association (from that time International Co-operation on Theories and Concepts in Traffic Safety) receive formal registration under Austrian law. Since then, ICTCT organises annual thematic conferences, publishes proceedings and special journal issues. More recently, ICTCT started to organise extra-events in non-European countries such as India, Brazil, Japan, Canada as well as providing educational courses for traffic safety researchers.