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PIARC is boosting Road Safety in LMICs: focus on Vulnerable Road Users (VRUs)

Published on 4 July 2023.

PIARC Global Road Safety Knowledge Exchange.

Lawrence Chauke presents Vulnerable Road Users safety issues. Watch now!

Member of PIARC Technical Committee 3.1 “Road Safety”

Hop on our Exchange project aiming at sharing knowledge about road safety, especially with low and middle-income countries with limited ressources but also with more developed economies with different needs and priorities. Thematically, the Road Safety Knowledge project will focus on the Safe System approach, addressing safe roads and roadsides, safe road users, safe vehicles and safe speeds. It is managed for PIARC by the National Technical University of Athens (NTUA) and the Austrian Institute of Technology (AIT).

This month, let’s focus on VRUs!

Problem: Each year, 1.35 million people are killed on the worlds’ roads, and a further 50 million are injured, with the vast majority of these (over 90%) occurring in LMICs. A critical share of these fatalities are Vulnerable Road Users (VRUs)

Solution: Adoption of the Safe System approach is necessary to prevent fatal and serious crashes with dedicated road safety facilities and provisions.

Recommendation: Key messages for road engineers and designers is to include vulnerable road users in the design process and include self-questions such as “what if a child /blind /elderly /disabled person is crossing.

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Problem: VRU crashes occur due to careless crossing, disobeying traffic lights, jaywalking, misjudgment of speed gap and lack of proper facilities, but also due to driver inexperience, misjudgment, or driver disobeying and not giving right of the way to VRUs.

Solution: Key requirements include giving road users enough time, the road must provide a safe field of view for all road users. The road environment must correspond with road user’s perception logic, covering as many angles/points of view as possible.

Recommendation: Road design should include a self-explaining and failure-forgiving road addressing the safety, mobility and travel comfort needs of the road users.

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Problem: LMICs have greater variety and intensity of traffic mixing the slow-moving and vulnerable non-motorized road users, as well as the motorcycles with fast-moving motorized vehicles.

Solution: Measures to enhance VRUs safety along road sections include: visual segregation by edge markings, wider and paved shoulder, appropriate traffic lane width, segregated footpath, segregated lane for cyclists or mopeds and proper crossing facilities.

Recommendation: To ensure compliance, measures of communication, education and enforcement, including special warning signs and campaigns should be employed.

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Problem: Fatalities amongst VRUs are higher in LMICs due to lack of resources to provide or maintain adequate and safe infrastructure, land use planning problems and unsafe users behavior, as well as post-crash response services.

Solution: Road Safety Audits and Inspections enhance safety. Target elements for RSA and RSI are the risk factors for crash occurrence or injury severity. The point of view of every kind of road user should be taken into consideration, along with the way interactions happen between different types of road users or transport modes. Post-crash care should be enhanced.

Recommendation: Checklists can be used to ensure safety aspects have not been overlooked.

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PowerPoint Presentation

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Previous topics of this Road Safety Knowledge Exchange Project: