ROAD SAFETY AND SUSTAINABLE TRANSPORT SYSTEMS

Picture by Ayoola Ashiru™

On 21–22 February, 2017 I participated in a capacity building workshop organized by the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR); the Road Safety Initiative for Cities; the Kennesaw State University, United States of America; the Federal Ministry of Transport of Nigeria, in partnership with Diageo (the mother company of Guinness Nigeria) and the University of Lagos, Akoka. Participants came from Ghana, Nigeria and other french speaking countries within the West Africa sub-region. The keynote speakers were the Honorable Minister of Transportation Mr Rotimi Ameachi; Dr. Larry Boms, Country Head and Representative, UNITAR; Mr Sesan Sobowale, Corporate Relations Director, Guinness Nigeria; Dr Boboye Oyeyemi, Corp Marshall, FRSC Nigeria; Mrs Foluke Oni, Deputy Director, Mass Transit Administration, Federal Ministry of Transportation; the Acting Commissioner for Transportation Lagos State, Prince Olanrewaju Elehushi, Mr Olajide Oduyoye, Deputy Director/Head of Transport Safety, LAMATA, Nigeria; Dr Jidong J. Yang, Director, Georgia Pavement and Traffic Research Center and Professor in Civil & Construction Engineering, KSU, USA;Dr Bill Diong, Associate Professor in Electrical Engineering, KSU,USA among others. The Capacity Building Workshop is the first of its series which was hosted by Nigeria, the other series will come up 22 -24 March, 2017 at Durban, South Africa; 4–5 May Punta Cana, Dominican Republic; 31st May — 2 June Jeju, ROK etc

The purpose of the work shop is to equip transport stakeholders with the necessary information to achieving road safety through sustainable transportation across the world. Road traffic injuries claim more than 1.2 million lives each year with a disproportionate impact on health and development. They are the ninth leading cause of death across all age groups globally and the leading cause among young people aged between 15 and 29 years. It is important to note that UNITAR’s Road Safety Initiative places priority in countries with highest road traffic death rates with a special focus on low-income countries, Least Developed Countries (LDDCs), and Small Island Developing Stated (SIDS).

The initiative aims to:

  1. Improve road user behaviour through advocacy efforts and by increasing awareness of risk factors
  2. Enhance the capacity of government agencies and municipal authorities to develop and implement road safety strategies and plans in line with the Sustainable Development Goals targeted for 2030.

The initiative is based on Two pillars, Advocacy and Capacity Building. Individuals road users have the responsibility to abide by laws and regulations. Changing road users’ behaviour on key risk factors for road traffic injuries (speed, drink-driving, distracted driving, failure to use helmets, seat belts etc) is a key component for improving road safety. Youth constitute the main target audience of advocacy efforts. Strengthening capacity at local and national level to address road safety is essential.

Points to take from the capacity workshop :

  1. Road accidents take up 3% of Nigeria’s GDP
  2. Lack of proper and sufficient planning is a contributing factor to accidents
  3. Africa has the highest traffic death of over 17.6%
  4. Road safety is a socioeconomic priority
  5. In achieving the SDG’s there is need to reduce by half the number of global death by 2020
  6. Lack of sleep for 24hrs as the same effect as taking 3 bottles of alcohol
  7. Good sleep hygiene can save lives
  8. Priority must be placed on non-motorized transport to achieve sustainable transportation
  9. Engineering; Education; Enforcement and Emergency are the key 4E’s to achieving a STD
  10. Change of Attitude is also key to Road Safety.
  11. To prevent crash, you must study crash
  12. Automotive vehicle to eliminate 93% of human error due to crash
  13. less than 3% of the energy in petrol or diesel is converted into mechanical energy

Dear readers, it is important we do our part in contributing to road safety to achieving the sustainable transportation development plan through:

  1. Walking and cycling when necessary
  2. Obey traffic rules and regulation all the time
  3. Car pooling and sharing should be practiced
  4. Use of pedestrian bridges should be encouraged
  5. Use of seat belt/helmet is very important at all times
  6. Taking care of government properties especially road infrastructure
  7. Educating other road users on what they need to know on road safety
  8. Do not drink alcohol before driving and do not drive if you must drink
  9. Planting of trees in your neighborhood is key etc

Thank you!

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