The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and the International Transport Forum (ITF) are embarking on a new initiative to reduce road deaths in the Caribbean, starting with a twinning venture between Jamaica and the United Kingdom (UK).
According to a press release, the Bank and ITF at the OECD are partnering to foster the twinning initiative which aims to promote the implementation of best practices in road safety data collection. The goal of the arrangement is to help Jamaica align its road safety data to international standards – as recommended by ITF International Traffic Safety Data and Analysis Group (IRTAD) – as an important step towards more effective road safety policies.
According to the IDB, compared with the entire Americas the percentage of road deaths in the non-Latin Caribbean is currently more than 2.5 times than its share of registered vehicles. The Road Safety Unit of Jamaica’s Ministry of Transport, Works and Housing is seen as leading the way on road crash data in the Caribbean.
Through the twinning programme, Jamaica will be put into a position to share best practices and knowledge with other countries in the region.
The first aspect of the twinning initiative is currently being conducted by the Transport Research Labora-tory with financial support from the IDB.
It involves a comprehensive review of how data relevant for road safety analyses are collected, stored, analysed in Jamaica and how they are then used to inform road safety strategies and interventions.As part of the review, the TRL team interviewed representatives from the Jamaican Police Force, Ministry of Education, Ministry of National Security, universities and the Maritime Training Institute.
During a workshop participants were presented with crash data systems and how to devise evidence-led road safety policies to more than 70 participants from seven other Caribbean countries (Jamaica, Barbados, The Bahamas, Trinidad and Tobago, Suriname, Belize and Guyana) which was organised by the IDB.
Among the objectives of the IDB’s Road Safety Strategy for the Latin American countries is strengthening their institutional and technical capacities in road safety through activities such as these.
The ITF initiated the first road safety twinning programme between Argentina and Spain in 2009, which subsequently led to the creation of the Ibero American Road Safety Observatory.
The joint initiative of the ITF, the IDB and the Jamaican and UK governments forms part of their commitment to the United Nation’s Decade of Action for Road Safety which aims to stabilise and reduce the number of global road fatalities, currently at 1.3 million per year by 2020.