Road sector needs $5.15bn investment to ensure safety

Updated February 23, 2020

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Pakistan needs $5.15 billion in investment over the next decade for infrastructure development to ensure road safety, and derive economic benefits worth $49.48bn, said a World Bank report. — File
Pakistan needs $5.15 billion in investment over the next decade for infrastructure development to ensure road safety, and derive economic benefits worth $49.48bn, said a World Bank report. — File

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan needs $5.15 billion in investment over the next decade for infrastructure development to ensure road safety, and derive economic benefits worth $49.48bn, said a World Bank report.

According to “Road Safety Country Profiles’ published by the World Bank, the investment – calculated at 0.15 per cent of the GDP annually up to 2030 – will result in reduction of 10,312 road crash fatalities per annum and reduce around 2,270,000 fatalities and serious injuries.

The profile published by the World Bank in association with Global Road Safety Facility and funded by UKAID, said that although Pakistan has a road safety strategy, the country lacks road safety targets despite. The Ministry of Communications’ functions as a lead agency includes coordination, legislation and monitoring and evaluation of road safety strategies.

In addition, the country has not updated or issued road assessment survey data.

Speeding is a major risk factor for road crash injuries, contributing to both crash risk and crash consequences. A 5pc cut in average speed can result in a 20pc reduction in number of fatal road crashes. Effective speed management measures such as establishing and enforcing speed limit laws, traffic calming through roadway design and other measures, and vehicle technology need to be widely implemented, the report says.

The South Asia region faces considerable road safety challenges. It accounts for 25pc of the world’s total road crash fatalities, and rapid motorisation that is creating greater exposure to road safety risks, the report adds.

Addressing road safety priorities in the regional trade corridors of South Asia provides opportunities for shared regional initiatives that can complement individual country road safety strategies and help accelerate their successful delivery.

Eight shared regional initiatives have been proposed including concerning crash data management and analysis systems, a regional road safety observatory, infrastructure safety design and assessment, a regional new car assessment programme, truck size and weight regulations, road policing and marketing and media campaigns, emergency medical and rehabilitation services, and injury surveillance systems.

These initiatives are aligned with national road safety efforts throughout the region. If properly resourced and directed, they would make a major contribution to reducing the regional road safety burden and achieving wider sustainable mobility goals that address transport sector productivity, accessibility, and environmental performance, report says.

The report cautioned that poor road safety performance throughout the South Asia region signals a prevailing level of under-investment in systemic, targeted, and sustained road safety programmes.

Road safety risks within the region reflect its distinctive characteristics concerning the rate of motorisation and composition of its vehicle fleet. Regional road safety investment has not kept pace with the dynamic forces of development.

South Asian economies are growing faster than any other region of the world.

Published in Dawn, February 23rd, 2020