Work to harmonize worldwide regulations for road vehicles has been ongoing for over 60 years, since regulators first realized that accidents could be caused by the features of the cars involved.

Cooperation with ISO has taken place from the start, and the relevance of ISO’s working methods and the technical quality of the ISO standards produced is appreciated by regulators taking part in this work. Of the 131 Economic Commission for Europe (ECE) regulations that exist on vehicle regulations, nearly half of them now make reference to well over 100 ISO standards.

Who is involved?

UNECE Working Party 29

UNECE Working Party 29, World Forum for Harmonization of Vehicle Regulations group establishes worldwide regulations governing vehicle characteristics in the fields of the active safety of vehicles and their parts (crash avoidance), the passive safety of vehicles and their parts (crash worthiness), environmental considerations (relating to pollution of the environment, noise disturbances and conservation of energy), general safety considerations (windshield wipers and washers, controls and display, glazing), anti-theft, and special technical considerations.
New regulations and amendments are prepared by one of the six working parties subsidiary to WP.29, dealing with lighting and light signalling, brakes and running gear, passive safety, pollution and energy, noise, and general safety questions.

ISO/TC 22, Road vehicles

ISO/TC 22, Road vehicles, deals with standardization concerning compatibility, interchangeability and safety, with particular reference to terminology and test procedures for evaluating the performance of road vehicles and their equipment, systems and subassemblies. All the technical domains of the vehicle construction are taken into account in one of the dozens of active subcommittees and working groups of ISO/TC 22. The structure of ISO/TC 22 is similar to the structures of WP.29 with active and passive safety, environment protection and other areas such as electronics and human machine interfaces.

ISO/TC 31, Tyres, rims, and valves

ISO/TC 31, Tyres, rims, and valves, deals with standardization concerning classification, size designation, dimensions, and ratings of tyres, rims and valves. All the technical domains of this subject area are covered in eight subcommittees.

  • Committees

How is regulatory cooperation in this field achieved?

With nearly 800 published standards, ISO/TC 22 has addressed a large number of industry needs, with particular attention to harmonizing test methods, measuring methods, terminology and interchangeability requirements. From the outset, ISO/TC 22 has been represented in the meetings of WP.29. Both organizations try to avoid any duplication of work. Some demands have been made by WP.29 to ISO in the field of road vehicles, and ISO/TC 22 has answered positively by producing some of the numerous ISO standards to which the ECE Regulations refer. Similarly, ISO/TC 31 has developed more than 75 standards in tandem with UN regulations, including test methods, noise, and rolling resistance measurement, among others. In addition, experts from industry attend both ISO committee meetings as well as the WP.29 meetings.

Electric Vehicles

Public attention is turning increasingly to the introduction of electric vehicles of all kinds. Where motor vehicles were originally almost entirely mechanical, they are now complex systems wholly dependent on thousands of electric and electronic components for safe and reliable operation, a fact frequently overlooked. To stay in front of this trend, ISO and the IEC have entered into a Memorandum of Understanding called “ISO/IEC Agreement concerning Standardization of electrotechnology for Road Vehicles and the cooperation between ISO/TC 22 “Road Vehicles” and the IEC Technical Committees”(2010).

Also, ISO directly participates in IEC Strategic Group 6 “Electrotechnology for mobility” which addresses the interaction between Plug-in electric vehicles and the electricity supply infrastructure. Electric Vehicles use high-voltage electrical systems so aspects related to safety and environment are extremely important, in addition to operational, communication and energy issues. As a result this industry is likely to be highly regulated and public policy makers as well as regulatory authorities are strongly encouraged to follow and participate in ISO and IEC work in this field. More information on electric vehicles and motors is available on the IEC’s website.

Examples by sector Overview
Energy management
To continually improve energy performance and sustain it over time.
Environmental management
To address problems related to climate change, for example.
Food products
To ensure that food is safe for consumption.
Laboratory medicine
To offer an important alternative to prescriptive regulations.
Medical devices
Standards play an important role in allowing the rapid introduction of new medical device technology.
Radio services
IEC/CISPR is responsible for the protection of radio services.
IEC/TC 9 is responsible for the electrical equipment and systems used in railways.
Road vehicles
Work to harmonize worldwide regulations for road vehicles.
Ships and marine technology
Defining standards and requirements that affect safety, security and the environment.
Transport of dangerous goods
How regulatory needs can lead to revisions and improvements in ISO standards.