IRF partners with The World Bank to provide road safety training in Africa and South America

The World Bank Global Road Safety Facility and the IRF work together to reduce the toll of road deaths and serious injuries in low and middle income countries.

With more than 1.2 million people dying and over 50 million injuries occurring every year, the economic and social costs are simply too high. Road crashes have a disproportionate impact on the poor and can plunge households into poverty.

The economic costs of road traffic deaths and injuries in low and middle-income countries are estimated at $65 billion a year. And the global cost of road traffic injuries is predicted to increase by more than 65 % by 2020. By 2030, road traffic deaths and injuries will be the fourth major cause of loss of healthy years for the general population, and the number two cause of death for men.

But more important than any of these numbers is the fact that these are our families that are dying. The death of a bread winner presents an ominous and daunting challenge for those that are left behind, or who are left to deal with a disabled family member.

Road Safety is a Global Responsibility

To combat this growing epidemic, The World Bank’s Global Road Safety Facility (GRSF) was launched in November 2005 and it commenced formal operations in April 2006. The Facility aims to generate and catalyze increased funding to support initiatives aimed at reducing deaths and injuries in low and middle-income countries.

The Facility partnered with IRF to develop training programs using independent modules that will focus on Roadside Safety and Median Applications, Intersection and Roundabout Safety and Vulnerable User (pedestrian) Safety.

Two modules were created: Designing Safer Roads for Vulnerable Road Users (VRU) and Roadside Safety Design.

"These modules introduce simple, low-cost engineering measures which will save thousands of lives, provide a better standard of living, and accomplish the World Bank’s goals," said Patrick Sankey, President & CEO, IRF-Washington.

Safer Roads Save Lives

IRF presented the first course, Designing Safer Roads for Vulnerable Road Users to two audiences. The first VRU course was presented in Accra, Ghana to 30 road officials, law enforcement officers, engineers, and other road professionals concerned over the high number of vulnerable road user crashes, injuries and fatalities in Ghana.

The second VRU course was delivered in Bogotá, Colombia to a group of 40 delegates.

Each course included in-depth discussions of the GRSF Infrastructure Safety Management, VRU planning and design considerations (including roundabouts), diagnosing VRU issues, potential countermeasures and steps to develop a VRU Safety Action Plan.

"This course proved to be very relevant," said Noble J. Appiah, Executive Director, National Road Safety Commission of Ghana. "The training really addressed one of the key challenges facing road safety management in Ghana – designing roads with the vulnerable road user in mind," Appiah said.

Attendees at the Accra, Ghana course conduct a field visit to see real-world applications of road safety concepts.

Attendees at the Accra, Ghana course conduct a field visit to see real-world applications of road safety concepts.

Participants also conducted a field visit and assessment of downtown Accra and Bogotá respectively, where they applied some of the concepts learned to real-world situations.

Upon completion, participants were able to:

1) Define vulnerable road users
2) Describe VRU needs
3) Diagnose crash causes and select proper countermeasures
4) Identify safety-related geometric design elements
5) Discuss VRU safety issues and how to address them

The second module, Roadside Safety Design, was presented in Kampala, Uganda and Lima Peru. Each course was attended by 40 road professionals, each with a large stake in building, designing and maintaining safer roads in their countries.

This module imparted the necessary knowledge and skills needed to be able to identify safety issues associated with roadside design, its impact on highway safety, and the selection of appropriate hardware (barriers, crash cushions and impact attenuators).

This module included discussions of the GRSF Infrastructure Safety Management, clear zones, crash testing and breakaway devices, roadside barriers, end treatments, crash cushions and procurement considerations.

As with the VRU module, participants in Uganda conducted a field visit and assessment of new roadways in Kampala, where they applied some of the concepts learned to real-world situations. And attendees in Lima conducted a field visit and assessment of the Pan American Highway near San Bartolo.

Upon completion, participants were able to:

1) Define the role of the roadside as it relates to the traffic safety
2) Understand and apply the clear zone concept
3) Decide which roadside design strategy is most appropriate for a given situation
4) Ensure proper placement of roadside hardware
5) Select and design roadside and median barriers
6) Choose the most appropriate barrier end treatment.

"The course content was excellent," said Jorge Lazarte, President, Peruvian Roads Association. "There was so much to process and learn, I wish the course could have been extended by two or three days. This is some much needed training."

Participants in Lima, Peru learning about roadside safety applications

Participants in Lima, Peru learning about roadside safety applications

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