A new report by the International Road Assessment Programme (iRAP) prescribes simple affordable road infrastructure like footpaths, crossing points, and safe junctions to treat the pandemic of road traffic accidents in developing countries.
'Vaccines for Roads' sets out the results of a multi-million dollar 2 year pilot programme in 4 developing countries - South Africa, Malaysia, Chile and Costa Rica. In each pilot country inspections covered 2-4,000 kms of the road network - focusing on the roads where deaths and serious injuries were most likely to be concentrated. More than 30 factors known to impact on safety were recorded every 50-100 metres to build a safety profile of over 10.000kms of roads. The new iRAP tools were then used to generate affordable, high return programmes identifying where simple safety countermeasures like footpaths and crossings could prevent tens of thousands of deaths and serious injuries in each country.
John Dawson, chairman of iRAP, said: "We now have a whole new technique for treating road networks in developing countries. Through road inspections we can identify the locations where large numbers of people are exposed to high-risk of death and serious injury. We can then prescribe treatments to improve the safety of roads. Road crashes kill as many people in developing countries as Malaria and TB. The potential from these new 'vaccines for roads' is enormous."
The new iRAP methodology delivers:
- 'Star rating' tables and maps showing the safety of roads for car occupants, motorcyclists, bicylists and pedestrians.
- An inventory database of the inspected roads to help network safety and maintenance management.
- An estimate of the number of people being killed and seriously injured on each inspected road.
- A recommended cost-effective, network-wide countermeasure programme for consideration by local stakeholders and funding bodies.
'Vaccines for Roads' reports high expected investment returns - for each pilot country the estimated benefit to cost ratio of the recommended programme is greater than 10. In Malaysia for example an investment of US $180m is expected to deliver US $3bn in benefits and prevent over 30,000 deaths and serious injuries over 20 years.
John Dawson said "For countries trying to tackle rapidly rising road casualties this safety assessment can make the difference between life and death for many of their citizens. But we need the urgent support of international aid donors and the development banks to help us deliver this vaccine for roads. The World Bank and other development banks are spending US $4bn on roads every year. They must respond to the growing demand for safe road infrastructure."
Download the full report:
Vaccines for Roads - July 2008
More information about iRAP and the Vaccines for Roads report please contact:
Dr Suzy Charman
International Programme Manager (iRAP)