APRSO Annual Meeting Day 2: APRSO member countries set to appoint National Data Coordinators
Day two of the Asia Pacific Road Safety Observatory’s first annual meeting was entitled ‘Country Experiences in Collecting, Analyzing & Managing Data’ and kicked off with a case study from the Philippines where, since the introduction of distracted driving laws, the number of crashes attributable to this cause has plummeted from 773 in 2017 to just 26 in 2019.
This was followed by a case study on road infrastructure safety from Afghanistan where the ADB has lent financial assistance for the implementation of a comprehensive Road Asset Management system that covers bridges, pavements, roadway structures and geographic information systems. The objective of the RAMS’ algorithm is to analyse the collected road data and anticipate road maintenance requirements several years ahead. Safety is included as a criteria for prioritizing road infrastructure maintenance requirements. This is important because, currently, road crashes cost the Afghan economy US$753m annually.
In Armenia too, road crashes cost 1% of GDP, which is one of the reasons why the country is implementing a Post Crash Response Strategy to improve coordination between emergency services, better educate road users and increase capacity for post crash response. All of these efforts are designed to halve the number of road fatalities.
Armenia has also embarked on an ambitious twenty year Transport and Trade Facilitation Strategy, supported by the ADB, that covers road, rail, urban and regional transport, aviation and trade from 2021 - 2040. The presenters were keen to highlight the importance of international cooperation in supporting Armenia’s plans and cited several other schemes currently in place:
- World Bank’s Lifelines Road Network Improvement Project
- European Investment Bank’s National Road Safety Campaign ‘Safety Is In Your Actions’
- UNDP Road Safety Fund
- Armenia-EU Comprehensive and Enhanced Partnership Agreement
After the country case studies came a discussion on ‘Distracted Driving, Vehicle Standards, Road Infrastructure and Post-Crash Response Indicators’ hosted by Charles Melhuish, Transport Consultant, APRSO. He opened with the revealing statistic that the US estimates that 26% of all crashes involve a cell phone. The EU also recently released distraction results but incident recording proved so problematic that they changed the KPI to note when a mobile phone is NOT a factor in a crash. Jonathon Passmore, Program Manager, Violence & Injury Prevention, World Health Organization pitched into the discussion with more distracting stats including:
- 11% of deaths and serious injury associated with distractions
- 17% of police offenses also pertained to distraction
- 45% of crashes related to driver distraction
- 37% related to pedestrian distraction
Following a short break, Maria Segui Gomez, Special Advisor for Road Safety, FIA presented on the role of the global Road Safety Observatories in collecting and sharing road safety data. She highlighted the role of National Data Coordinators as essential to ensuring standards of reporting are upheld and announced that a request will shortly be going out to APRSO member countries to appoint their NDCs in time for the first meeting due very soon.
Maria reminded delegates that although Asia and the Pacific is the last region to form a Road Safety Observatory, globally there are 102 countries actively participating in Observatories with that number set to grow to 135 by the end of the year.
The data collected by current member countries is being made all the more accessible and useful thanks to a new data sharing tool that was introduced by Nhan Tran, Head, Safety & Mobility, WHO. The WHO Global Road Safety Info App was launched in 2018 but continues to add new capabilities that will aid the digital transformation of data collection and reporting worldwide.
Before the final wrap up delegates were reminded that APRSO’s Road Safety Capacity Building Programme is starting in July 2021, with pre-course webinars scheduled for May/June. We will share more details on this training soon!
The event was closed by ADB Chief of Transport Sector Group Jamie Leather who echoed his own opening remarks by reminding everyone of the scale of both the challenge and the opportunity to save lives across Asia and The Pacific.
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