Road safety: Towards implementing Safe System approach

Tunis: A training workshop, bringing together stakeholders in road safety management at national and regional levels, was held on April 15-16 in Tunis.

Entitled “Road Safety Management: Safe Systems and Safe Roads,” the training workshop is being held as Tunisia is striving to curb the death toll, with road safety figures showing alarming results.

Taking the floor at the opening of the workshop, Director General of Bridges and Roads at the Equipment and Housing Ministry, Slah Zouari, said that the goal of this training is to consolidate road safety management by those involved in the design, operation and inspection of the road networks.

He also pointed to the importance of preventive safety management in achieving a systemic reduction in road deaths, which rose by 14.8% in 2023, according to the annual report of the National Road Safety Observatory.

The first day of the workshop was devoted to a general introduction to the “Safe System” concept, principles and ways to implement it in Tunisia.

To this en
d, Senior Road Safety Advisor at the European Investment Bank (EIB) Brendan Halleman pointed out that the “Safe System” approach is the most effective way to tackle the risk of tragedy on the road network.

This system, which is adopted by a large number of countries, is based on an “ethical” position that “it is unacceptable for people to be seriously injured or killed on the road network”, he said.

However, its implementation requires government commitment as well as the participation of various stakeholders, including civil society organisations, particularly environmental protection organisations, he underlined.

Halleman further indicated that one of this training workshop’s goals is to explain to the relevant departments the methods to be followed for inspecting sections of road at risk, and for commissioning safety audits.

According to him, this will make it possible to deploy all the necessary actions throughout the road network, in the light of risk indicators measured on the basis of road safety s
tudies and audits.

The EIB official also pointed out that the Safe System is at the heart of the UN Global Plan for the Decade of Action for Road Safety 2021-2030, which aims to reduce road traffic fatalities and injuries by at least 50% between 2021 and 2030.

Halleman further pointed to the serious economic repercussions of road accidents and the limits they impose on the State’s public policies in various sectors.

Road accidents hamper public policies to promote soft mobility, which relies not only on human energy, mainly cycling, but also on collective means of mobility that help to reduce CO2 emissions, he added.

The training workshop’s second day provided an opportunity to examine the role of road designers in ensuring better road safety, through safety audits and inspections.

In this respect, EIB Road Safety Expert Ahmed Ksentini said that it is the designer’s duty to ensure that the safety of road users has been taken into account from the design stage until the road is brought into service.

the road is in operation, it is vital to continue the quality control of designs and development projects with regard to the safety of motorists, he indicated.

This training session was attended by representatives of the Interior and Public Works and Housing ministries, the Tunisian Highways Company (STA), the National Road Safety Observatory and municipalities involved in EIB-funded road projects.

Source: Agence Tunis Afrique Presse




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