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Economics of Road Safety – What does it imply under the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development?

Authors Jac Wismans
Marie Thynell
Selpi Selpi
Publisher UNCRD
Place of publication Nagoya
Publication year 2017
Published at School of Global Studies, Peace and Development Research
Language en
Keywords Road Safety, Developing Asia, Development Research, SDG's, Traffic injuries, Rural Areas
Subject categories Peace and conflict research


Review the Road Safety problem in the EST region, including the economic impact Review of the role of the UN and its entities in the field of road safety, including the 2015 Sustainable Development Goals Introduce the basics of economics of road safety and the methodology of cost benefit assessment (CBA) and cost-effectiveness analysis (CE) Review of the status of road safety measures in the EST region and analysis of the importance of investment in road safety in Asia Develop recommendations on the most cost-effective road safety measuresThe total number of death due to road accidents in the Asian EST region in 2013 was almost 700.000, which is 55% of the global number of death. The majority of these death were found in China (38%) and India (30%). Compared to the year 2010 the number of death decreased in 2013 by 5,5%. Vulnerable Road Users (VRU’s: pedestrians, cyclists and motor cyclists combined) are particular at risk. Globally the number of death in road accidents of VRU’s is about 50%, but in most Asian EST countries this is more than 60% and in five countries (Lao, Sri Lanka, Singapore, Thailand and Cambodia) it is even more than 80%, which is largely due to the high number of fatalities among motorized 2 and 3- wheelers in these countries. An overview of UN activities in road safety has been given including the role of various UN bodies like WHO, UNECE, UNESCAP and UNCRD. Important global UN milestones in the field of road safety are the establishment in 2011 of the UN Decade of Action for Road Safety (2011-2020) with a goal to stabilize and reduce the predicted levels of road traffic fatalities around the world and the adoption in 2015 of the sustainable development goals (SDGs) with the important road safety related target SDG 3.6: “By 2020, halve the number of global deaths and injuries from road traffic accidents”. For ASIA the adoption of UNESCAP recommended road safety goals, targets and performance indicators by the Third Session of the Ministerial Conference on Transport in Moscow, 5-9 December 2016 is an important achievement. Road traffic accidents and injuries are a major public health problem and leading cause of death in the Asia EST region (comprises South and Southeast Asia, People's Republic of China, Japan, Republic of Korea, Mongolia and the Russian Federation). This paper aims to: In Chapter 3 the principles behind the valuation of the economic impact of traffic accidents and estimates for the cost of road accidents in Asia are presented. It is shown that road safety has a major impact on economies of Asian countries. The total resulting cost estimate for road accidents in the Asian EST countries in 2010 is 735 Billion US$ of which almost half in China. The average % GDP loss in the Asian Est region is 3.3% with the highest value (>4%) for the South Asia region. These cost estimates may be conservative since they exclude major cost components like property damage costs, costs of minor injuries, medical costs and administrative costs. Chapter 3 also includes a brief introduction in cost-benefit and effectiveness analyses and examples of benefit-cost ratios are included in Chapter 3 and 4. In Chapter 4 it is shown that the SDG 3.6 target to halve by 2020 the number of global deaths and injuries from road traffic accidents implicates for the Asian EST countries, if met, a saving of more than 340.000 lives annually and a reduction of the burden on the economy with more than 350 billion US$ per year, or equivalent to a growth in GDP of more than 1,5%. Such targets are extremely ambitious, but on the other hand examples from other parts of the world have shown that significant improvements are possible.

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