The first Asia-Pacific road safety observatory (APRSO) has been established to help fight road fatalities with better crash data.
Announced at the Global Ministerial Conference on Road Safety in Stockholm, Sweden, yesterday, the observatory will support countries in the region to boost their capacity to collect, analyse and share reliable road crash data.
Young Tae Kim, ITF secretary-general, said, “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.”
More than 2,000 people lose their lives on roads in the region every day, according to estimates, with many more sustaining serious life-changing injuries.
As well as the substantial loss of life, traffic accidents also result in significant economic and social losses and halving the number of incidents over a 24-year period could increase GDP capita by as much as 22%, according to research by the World Bank.
Measuring the performance of road safety interventions is essential for ensuring the most appropriate initiatives are invested in, but the quality of crash data varies dramatically across the Asia-Pacific.
The new APRSO will seek to address this data gap, as well as promote cooperation, best practice and scaling up of effective evidence-based policies throughout the region.
“The gathering of reliable road safety data can drive long-lasting policy changes”, said Jean Todt, the UN secretary-general’s special envoy for Road Safety and FIA president.
“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.”
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.
“The APRSO 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”, said Guangzhe Chen, global director for Transport and regional director for Infrastructure in South Asia at The World Bank.
“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.”
Bambang Susantono, vice president of the Asian Development Bank, 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.”