Road safety is an urgent international development priority in view of the growing humanitarian crisis of road traffic injury in low- and middle-income countries.
In support of the UN Decade of Action for Road Safety 2011–2020, a Global Plan has set a highly ambitious goal ‘to stabilize and then reduce forecast road deaths’ by 2020. If achieved, the estimated saving would be 5 million lives and 50 million fewer serious injuries worldwide.
International development organisations concerned with transport and health are promoting the paradigm shift to the ethical Safe System goal and strategy, which involves zero tolerance of the traditional trade-off between mobility and serious and fatal road injury.
Safe System is seen as particularly relevant for LMICs since it addresses the human vulnerabilities of all road users. It aligns with a range of international development goals and public policies for sustainable transport, occupational health and safety, child welfare, and social equity.
International development agencies emphasise that long-term governmental ownership and leadership is required. Political interest needs to be translated into ambitious long-term goals, step-wise targets, and provision of appropriate human and financial resources.
The safe planning, design, operation and use of the road network is recognised as a fundamental intervention strategy and the prime focus of this manual.