WB: Making PH roads safe to generate $45.63B in economic benefits
Most motorists consider roads in the Philippines as unsafe and could welcome a World Bank (WB) initiative to establish a lead agency to lay out a national road safety program that the WB estimates will bring at least $45.63 billion in economic benefits in 20 years.
In its “Guide for Road Safety Opportunities and Challenges: Low- and Middle-Income Country Profiles” report, the Washington-based WB said the Philippines needed to invest $4.22 billion in infrastructure and speed management, or about 0.1 percent of the country’s projected gross domestic product (GDP) annually from 2019 to 2030, to reduce fatalities from road accidents by 4,152 per year.
Citing estimates from the Philippine government, the Global Burden of Disease (GBD), and the World Health Organization (WHO), road crash fatalities in the Philippines in 2016 ranged between 10,012 and 12,690, while serious injuries were estimated at 190,350.
Of road crash fatalities and injuries recorded in the Philippines four years ago, 77 percent came from the “economically productive” age groups of between 15 and 64 years old, and those aged 15-49 deemed most vulnerable to fatalities.
These deaths and injuries cost the Philippines $12.45 billion in 2016, or 4.1 percent of GDP that year.
If the Philippines will have safer roads, the country will slash fatalities and serious injuries by 910,000 in the next 20 years, WB estimates showed.
Citing the International Road Safety Assessment Program’s (iRAP) ratings, which assign five stars to the safest roads and one star to the least safe, Philippine roads were deemed two stars among most motor vehicle riders; one star to most riders of motorized two/three wheelers; and two stars for the majority of cyclists and pedestrians surveyed.
Based on the iRAP survey, 93 percent of Philippine roads had no formal footpaths; 89 percent were without pedestrian crossings; and all roads in the country were undivided with vehicle speeds faster than 80 kilometers per hour (kph).
For the WB, “improved infrastructure provides solid and well-understood crash- and injury-reduction outcomes and are critical for long-term and sustainable trauma reduction in line with the ‘safe systems approach.’”
“To produce positive road safety outcomes, strong management in all aspects of road safety is key. Presence of a funded lead agency to guide the national road safety effort and implement a safe systems approach is recommended” in the Philippines, the WB said.
At present, the WB noted that the Philippines’ lead agency with regards road safety initiatives was the Department of Transportation (DOTr).
“The country has both a fatal and non-fatal road safety target, to reduce fatalities by 50 percent with a timeline of 2011-2020,” the WB added.
As for road speeds, the WB noted that while the Philippines was already implementing vertical deflections as among speed calming measures, the country had yet to introduce narrowing, horizontal defection, and blocking or restricting access to create pedestrian zones.
“Speeding is a major risk factor for road crash injuries, contributing to both crash risk and crash consequences. A 5-percent cut in average speed can result in a 20-percent reduction in the number of fatal road crashes. Effective speed management measures such as establishing and enforcing speed limit laws, traffic calming through roadway design and other measures, and vehicle technology need to be widely implemented,” the WB said.
Also, the WB lamented that the Philippines had yet to comply with the United Nations’ (UN) vehicle safety regulations, including frontal and side impact, motorcycle anti-lock braking system, pedestrian protection, electronic stability control, as well as seat belts and anchorages.
Edited by TSB
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