issue of rural transport safety has been simmering in the IFRTD
network for quite some time, especially in Latin
America. Until now safety issues in the transport sector
have overwhelmingly concentrated on roads, highways and motorised
traffic. With organisations such as Global
Road Safety Partnership and World
Health Organisation doing an excellent job in advocating
for this major problem (it is estimated that in 2020, road accidents
will be the third major cause of death in the world). For more
information please access www.grsproadsafety.org
However IFRTD members, such as Paul Kwamusi
from the Uganda Transport Forum Group, have been advocating
for more attention to rural transport safety issues, beyond
roads. Particularly in relation to rural
waterways and gender.
In the issue pages of the IFRTD website Kwamusi has contributed
a think-piece on rural
IFRTD was invited to participate
in the United
Nations Economic Commission for African Road Safety Congress
(Ghana, February 2007). IFRTD was asked to lead
a panel on rural safety issues - a great opportunity
for us to raise awareness of rural transport safety issues that look beyond
roads. This opportunity helped to make these
important issues more visible for policy and decision-makers. For more information on what happened at the congress, click here.
As there is little information available on
rural transport safety outside of road safety and accidents,
IFRTD is interested to explore other themes, for example:
- Safety from harassment, particularly
for women/girls, relating to the design of transport services
- Safety of poor peoples' property
- eg. intermediate modes of transport.
- Safety issues on community access
- Safety issues on other local infrastructure
- footbridges, other water crossings, paths, tracks
and water transport.
After circulating a call for proposals in
September and October 2006 IFRTD selected 5 studies with a rural transport safety focus. Between November 2006
and January 2007 the 5 participating researchers have carried
out small, mainly qualitative, assessments to explore
whether and how safety in rural transport is an issue for people
and/or communities. Perhaps it is not a priority – in
extreme poverty-stricken areas safety may not be the first thing
on people’s minds. IFRTD is also mindful of the question
of enforcing strict safety regulations which may potentially
exacerbate isolation. For example in a recent study, called
Transport Services led by a team of rural transport specialists,
it was demonstrated that in Zambia 70-80% of the bicycles did
not have brakes - a potential safety risk. Enforcing the installation
of brakes through stricter regulations, would mean that poor
people would be marginalised and isolated even more as they
would no longer be able to use their bicycles or would have
to pay fines, or even worse, bribes.
So the studies looked for
the optimum balance between improving safety for poor people
while still ensuring their access to critical lifelines and
- In Cajamarca, rural Peru, Maria Gutierrez
carried out a small study on safety issues on community
access roads particularly for girls and women.
Click here to download the full report (Word 1.6MB)
The Better the Road the Greater the Risk.
- In rural Madagascar Didier Young looked
at safety issues on community access roads and paths, with
a special focus on various means of transport including
Click here to download the full report (Word 272kb)
Evaluation des Problèmes majeurs de Sécurité des Transports en Milieu Rural sur les Hauts-Plateaux de Madagascar.
- In Sri Lanka Granie Jayalath assessed
safety on rural waterway crossings.
Click here to download the full report (Word 1.7MB)
- In Cameroon Vivien Meli carried out
a small research on safety issues with female traders (“byam-salam”)
on rural roads (rural-urban linkages).
Click here to download the full report in English (Word 527kb)
Click here to download the full report in french (Word 1MB)
- In Rajasthan, India, Ashoke Sarkar from the
Birla Institute for Technology and Science is looking at the
impact of PMGSY roads on the traffic safety of school going
children in rural areas.
Click here to download the full report (Word 1.1MB)
A full synthesis report of the studies is also available alongside a shorter overview provided by Forum News edition 13.3 (February 2007). Click on the links below to download these two resources:
- Time to Broaden the Transport Safety Debate (IFRTD Jan 2007) Download
- IFRTD Forum News, edition 13.3, February 2007, Rural Transport Safety. Download (Acrobat pdf 1MB)
For more information please contact: