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Bloomberg Philanthropies Initiative for Global Road Safety – the winners

Speed management scheme around schools in Pleiku, Vietnam. (Image from Bloomberg Philanthropies via YouTube)

‘Groundbreaking’ work to manage speeds around schools in the Vietnamese city of Pleiku, has won it recognition in a major global road safety awards scheme.

The city’s Slow Zones, Safe Zones, programme had already gained national recognition for its innovative approach to child-centred road safety, and now its success has gone global.

Pleiku is one of four city winners in the Bloomberg Philanthropies Initiative for Global Road Safety awards, which works in partnership with international and local organisations and governments to improve road safety and save lives by focusing on five key areas, and the only one which focuses exclusively on the safety of school pupils.

Its focus is on strengthening national legislation, improving the collection of data, enhancing data and surveillance, changing the behaviour of all road users and improving road infrastructures. The latest winners were selected from from nominations across 18 countries proposed by road safety experts, with priority given to large-scale, evidence-based interventions in low- and middle-income countries.

The 2023 WHO Global Status Report on Road Safety showed that traffic crashes are the 12th leading cause of death globally and the leading cause of death for ages 5-29 across all countries. Road traffic crashes claim nearly 1.2 million lives around the world each year and injure as many as 50 million people. The report also shows that 90 per cent of road traffic related deaths occur in low- and middle-income countries.

Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO director-general, said: “Road safety remains an urgent global issue that requires the utmost attention from governments. We commend the incredible achievements of all the award winners, as well as those nominated, to make our roads safer. Through these tireless efforts, many countries are on a path to not only achieve safe and sustainable mobility, but also a healthier and better future.”

‘Incredible achievements’

For its part, Pleiku City’s work covers more than 30 schools across the area, and will also implement infrastructure modifications at 13 schools across other regions of the country to demonstrate the effectiveness of their approach to local leaders.

Announcing Pleiku’s success, Bloomberg’s awards ceremony heard in a special video message how the city was the first to apply speed limits for school zones in Vietnam. Hong Bui, Senior Program Manager for the Asia Injury Prevention Foundation, said that the government’s safe roads initiative focused on establishing and enforcing 30 kilometres per hour speed limits in school zones.

“The project achieved a remarkable decrease in speed violations, with speed bumps, rumble strips, pedestrian crossings and the construction of sidewalks,” she added.

The other winners, while not child-specific programmes, all contribute hugely to the safety of vulnerable road users in their respective areas. They are the National Road Safety Agency in Argentina, the Secretariat of Mobility in Bogotá, Colombia, and the National Road Safety Observatory in Tunisia.

Bloomberg Philanthropies says it has invested around half a billion US dollars in global road safety projects since 2007, saving an estimated 312,000 lives and preventing up to 11.5 millon injuries. Its partners include World Health Organization, Global Designing Cities Initiative, Global Road Safety Partnership, Global Health Advocacy Incubator, World Resources Institute, Johns Hopkins International Injury Research Unit, World Bank’s Global Road Safety Facility, Global New Car Assessment Programme (NCAP), Vital Strategies, and the International Association of Chiefs of Police.

Michael R. Bloomberg, founder of Bloomberg LP and Bloomberg Philanthropies, and World Health Organization Global Ambassador for Noncommunicable Diseases and Injuries, said that better infrastructure, stronger laws and more efficient enforcement could help prevent millions of road fatalities and injuries every year.

Author: Simon Weedy

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