Road safety master plans: an inclusive approach from South Africa.

Low income communities suffer disproportionately from the effects of road accidents. And, formal information on accidents and their location in these communities often does not exist. So, how do authorities go about improving road safety in low-income communities where the relevant information is not available in the right format?

The City of Tshwane, a metropolitan municipality in South Africa, addressed this problem and achieved great success.

Tshwane is a city in transition and has a mix of established and historically disadvantaged areas. The disadvantaged areas are mainly situated to the north of the city.

Since road safety in these areas was severely neglected in the past, the new municipality that came into being in 2000 was faced with a tremendous challenge to improve road safety and provide infrastructure there. Fatality rates were high and the communities were discontented about the road safety situation. They even cordoned off and damaged roads after serious accidents to prevent further accidents and demonstrate their discontent.

The City of Tshwane acknowledged the problem and developed road safety master plans in collaboration with stakeholders and the community. The master plans mainly focused on the provision of engineering measures such as pedestrian bridges, walkways, raised pedestrian crossings, speed humps and loading facilities at schools, but also attended to education, awareness raising, law enforcement and evaluation. In addition, the master plans were used to establish partnerships with other spheres of government as well as other non-government road safety organisations.

During the 2006/07 financial year, all the road safety master plans were updated and refined on the basis of knowledge gained from the process over a few years. Measurable key performance indicators (KPIs) for the provision of engineering measures were included in the Roads and Stormwater Division’s scorecard.

Implementation was monitored accordingly. All targets set were met, leading to significant reductions in traffic accidents, injuries and fatalities. The process has been found to be sustainable and replicable, using the knowledge of communities and empowers them to be part of the solution.

Year       Fatal      Serious      Slight      Damage     Total
2006       271        2,300         8,462      50,046       61,079
2007       214        2,235         8,208      53,142       63,799

Year       Fatal      Serious      Slight      No injury    Total
2006       300        2,955         11,650    75,177       90,082
2007       236        2,921         11,189    73,609       87,955

Tshwane used a scorecard for determining key performance areas (KPAs) and KPIs. These were used to measure the performance of the Municipality and individuals. In line with Tshwane’s objective to fight poverty and build clean, healthy, safe and sustainable communities, a target was set for the reduction of fatalities. The initial target was to reduce fatal accidents per 10,000 registered vehicles by 5% a year. The city achieved a significantly higher reduction, of 12.5%.

Reduction in fatal accidents and fatalities: Tshwane used the Trafman system to capture accident data and produce management reports on road traffic accidents.

Following this process, Tshwane achieved a 21% reduction in fatal accidents and a similar reduction in fatalities. Serious and slight accidents and injuries were also reduced. Although the total number of accidents increased slightly, the total number of persons injured declined.

During 2007 the City of Tshwane managed to reduce accidents and fatalities caused by road accidents significantly. Road Safety Master Plans were instrumental in developing a comprehensive approach that included engineering, enforcement and education. Those plans played a major role in achieving the reduction.

As part of the implementation, law enforcement plans were set up and education and awareness campaigns were run. The tested 4E approach of engineering, education, enforcement and evaluation was followed, yielding very good results. The dedicated educational campaigns targeted at vulnerable groups also proved to be successful in reducing fatalities and serious injuries. Tshwane is a worthy winner of the IRF 2007 Road Safety Award.