Dr. Etienne Krug, Director of the World Health Organization (WHO) on Monday explained the experts and policymakers from throughout the world on why road safety must not be ignored by countries when building road infrastructure. He was addressing the international transport community as Key Note Speaker on the second day of the five days 26th World Road Congress in Abu Dhabi.
"Globally, every year, 1.3 million people are killed in road accidents and it is the number one cause of death of children. The key factor that will help road safety is a decision from the top and that includes the government. We have to implement what we know will work. We also have to recognize that tackling speed is one of the important things to improve road safety," said Dr. Krug. He further added, "Roads are not just for cars; it is for everybody. The infrastructure that is being built should ensure that children can cycle and walk safely to school while there should be better accessibility for disabled people to move around the roads." Dr. Krug focussed on the importance of stopping unsafe road construction and highlighted that safety should be central to any road.
Earlier, Mr. Mattar Al Tayer, Director-General, Chairman of the Board of Executive Directors of the Roads and Authority – Dubai, addressed the audience. Al Tayer revealed that investments of Dubai Government in roads and transport infrastructure had generated economic benefits in terms of saved time and fuel wastes in the order of AED169 billion between 2006 to 2018.
In another session, Graham Pendlebury, Director of Local Transport, Department of Transport in the UK and Chair of the Special Project Oversight Team, outlined examples of nations including Latvia which showed financial backing that has improved journeys in their capital Riga. He also revealed the importance of building a roads network that caters for cyclists after highlighting Denmark has invested in cycling across the country with 49% of children aged between 11 to 15, cycling to school.
Focusing on the Congress' theme 'Connecting Cultures, Enabling Economies', the experts participated across 19 sessions on Day 2 of the Congress including workshops and technical discussions.
(With inputs from the 26th World Road Congress)