The establishment of the first regional Road Safety Observatory in the Asia and Pacific region was announced in Stockholm today on the eve of the 3rd United Nations (UN) Global Ministerial Conference on Road Safety. The UN conference gathers ministers and policymakers from across the world to set the future direction for road safety action.
The Asia-Pacific Road Safety Observatory (APRSO) will support countries in the region in boosting their capacity to collect, analyze, and share reliable road crash data, with the objective of drastically reducing number of road deaths and crash injuries in the region.
The road safety crisis in Asia and the Pacific has reached epidemic proportions. More than 2,000 people lose their lives on the road every day in the region, according to estimates. Many more sustain serious life-changing injuries.
Road crashes cause enormous human suffering; they also result in significant economic and social losses. Halving the number of fatalities and injuries over a 24-year period could increase the gross domestic product (GDP) per capita by up to 22% in some Asian countries, according to recent research by the World Bank.
Measuring the performance of road safety interventions is essential to ensure investments are effective. Yet the availability and quality of crash data that can guide effective policies varies significantly across countries in Asia and the Pacific.
APRSO will address the data gap. It will also promote cooperation, the use of best practices, and the scaling up of effective policies and evidence-based interventions across the region.
The APRSO will build on the experience of the Latin America and Caribbean Road Safety Observatory (OISEVI) launched in 2012 and the African Road Safety Observatory (ARSO) launched in 2018. It is a joint initiative of the World Bank, the Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA), the International Transport Forum (ITF), the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP), and the Asian Development Bank (ADB). The APRSO receives financial support from UK Aid through the Global Road Safety Facility (GRSF). Technical support also comes from the World Health Organization and UNESCAP.
UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Road Safety and FIA President Mr. Jean Todt said: “The gathering of reliable road safety data can drive long-lasting policy changes. I am pleased to see that a joint initiative of the FIA, the World Bank, and the ITF has led to the creation of the Asia-Pacific Road Safety Observatory. It represents a new opportunity for governments in the region to work with their partners in public health, transport, law enforcement, civil society, and the private sector to promote targeted interventions to reduce the number of deaths and injuries on the roads.”
ITF Secretary-General Mr. Young Tae Kim said: “The ITF looks forward to bring all our know-how on crash data to the Asia-Pacific Road Safety Observatory and making it available to the countries of the region. Better data will make a big difference in securing political support for effective evidence-based road safety interventions in a world region that is more affected by the road crash epidemic than many others.”
The World Bank’s Global Director for Transport and Regional Director for Infrastructure in South Asia Mr. Guangzhe Chen said: “The Asia-Pacific Road Safety Observatory is the culmination of a two-year process led by the World Bank, the Asian Development Bank, the International Transport Forum and the FIA, that involved consultations with many countries and regional institutions. The consultations revealed that there is strong political will to tackle the road safety crisis in the region, but that solutions must be based in evidence and tailored for each country’s reality. The World Bank and GRSF stand ready to support countries with sound policy advice and investments on safer infrastructure, enforcement, and safer speed management.”
ADB Vice-President for Knowledge Management and Sustainable Development Mr. Bambang Susantono said: “This observatory is a product of a concerted effort from the development community to better support countries in Asia and the Pacific in their efforts to improve road safety.”