Road Safety Manual
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2.3 The UN decade of action and global plan

The abovementioned initiatives resulted in the unanimous adoption of a resolution by the United Nations General Assembly in 2010 announcing the Decade of Action for Road Safety 2011-2020. This was followed by the launch of a Global Plan produced by the UN Road Safety Collaboration in 2011 (UN, 2010a; UNRSC, 2011a).

An ambitious goal was set to stabilise and then reduce forecast road deaths by 2020 (WHO, 2013). If achieved, this would mean an estimated saving of 5 million lives (Figure 2.1) and 50 million fewer serious injuries, with an overall benefit of more than US$3 trillion (Guria, 2009).

Figure 2.1 Goal of the Decade of Action for Road Safety 2011–2020 - Source: Adapted from Guria, (2009); WHO, (2013).

The Global Plan was developed to assist governments and other national stakeholders to develop national and local road safety activities, while simultaneously providing a framework for coordinating activities at regional and global levels. The Global Plan adopts the Safe System approach and suggests that countries work within the five pillars of action, as summarised in Box 2.2. The UN General Assembly resolution called for regular monitoring of global progress and for an increase in the percentage of countries with road safety legislation covering key risk factors to 50% by 2020. National road safety performance is being monitored and two periodic status reports have been produced to date (WHO, 2009, 2013). Mid-term and final reviews will be presented by the World Health Organization at global ministerial conferences in 2015 and 2020.

Box 2.2: The Global Plan pillars

Pillar 1: Road safety management

This pillar highlights the need to designate a jurisdictional lead agency to develop and lead the delivery of targeted road safety activity and to provide capacity for this and related multi-sectoral coordination, which is underpinned by data collection and evidential research to assess countermeasure design and monitor implementation and effectiveness (see The Road Safety Management System )

Pillar 2: Safer roads and mobility

This pillar aims to raise the inherent safety and protective quality of road networks for the benefit of all road users, especially the most vulnerable (e.g. pedestrians, bicyclists and motorcyclists). This will be achieved through the implementation of road infrastructure assessment and improved safety-conscious planning, design, construction and operation of roads (see Road Safety Management of this manual).

Pillar 3: Safer vehicles

This pillar encourages universal deployment of improved vehicle safety technologies for both passive and active safety through a combination of harmonisation of relevant global standards, consumer information schemes, and incentives to accelerate the uptake of new technologies.

Pillar 4: Safer road users

The aim of this pillar is to encourage the development of comprehensive programmes to improve road user behaviour, and sustained or increased enforcement of laws and standards, combined with public awareness/education to increase seatbelt and helmet wearing rates, to reduce drink-driving, speed and other risk factors.

Pillar 5: Post-crash response

This pillar targets increased responsiveness to post-crash emergencies and improved ability of health and other systems to provide appropriate emergency treatment and longer-term rehabilitation for crash victims.

Source: UNRSC, (2011a).


Regional targets and plans

Experience with regional targets indicates that they can play an important road safety role and provide a focus for regional and national intervention (ETSC, 2011). Encouraged by the UN Regional Commissions, the European Union and other road safety organisations, ambitious targets are being increasingly set at regional as well as national levels (see Box 2.3 and Box 2.4; UN, 2010b, UNRSC 2011b).

Box 2.3: Examples of current regional road safety targets

Asia and Pacific Region:

Ministers of Transport from the region adopted a numerical target in 2006 to reduce deaths by 600,000 by 2015.

European Union:

Regional goals and targets have been set by the European Commission. These are that by 2050, the EU should move ‘close to zero fatalities’ in road transport and target halving road deaths for the interim by 2020. While highly ambitious aspirations, these are very important statements of the priority that road safety must have if EU countries are to continue to lead in global road safety, as desired by all the EU institutions.

Sources: ESCAP, (2007); EC, (2011a, 2011b).


Box 2.4: Regional support: African Road Safety Action Plan 2011–2020

The Second African Road Safety Conference held in 2011 was organized by the UN Economic Commission for Africa, the Sub-Sahara Africa Transport Policy Program (SSATP) and the Government of Ethiopia, in collaboration with the International Road Federation (IRF), the African Union Commission (AUC), the African Development Bank (AfDB), and the World Bank. The objectives of the conference were to: (i) examine and validate the African Road Safety Action Plan that would serve as a guiding document for the implementation of the Decade of Action; (ii) propose and validate a resource-mobilisation strategy and a follow-up mechanism; and (iii) learn from good practice and share experiences. The United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) requested that SSATP write the Road Safety Policy Framework to underpin an African Road Safety Action Plan, which was approved by the Ministers of Transport and vetted by the Heads of State in January 2012. The plan is organized around the five pillars of the Global Plan and aims to reduce forecasted fatalities for 2020 by 50%. This involves stabilising the number of deaths at 320,000, then gradually reducing them to 270,000. If the target is met, more than 1 million forecasted deaths and 10 million serious injuries will be prevented, with a social benefit of around US$340 billion.Source: African Union, (2011).


National targets and plans

A key element of the Global Plan is to encourage the development of national goals, targets and plans. National target-setting in road safety is an international success story. Setting challenging but achievable quantitative targets towards the Safe System goal in order to eliminate death and long-term injury has been identified as international best practice (OECD, 2008). Quantitative targets, when supported by appropriate institutional delivery can lead to better programmes, a more effective use of public resources, and an improvement in road safety performance (Allsop et al., 2011). Until sufficient management capacity and performance data are available in LMICs to set meaningful national targets, countries are advised to adopt the long-term Safe System goal and target reductions in specific corridors and areas using survey data of infrastructure safety quality (e.g. Road Assessment Programmes) and safety behaviours (e.g. speed, crash helmet and seatbelt use, drinking and driving). Full discussion and detailed guidance on national target-setting and the development of targeted strategies, plans and projects is provided in Targets and Strategic Plans.



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