GMS Subregional Transport Forum Continues to Support the Improvement of Road Safety in the Subregion
The main road in Poipet, on the Thai border. The trip takes 2 hours to Siem Reap. Photo by Gerhard Jörén/ADB, 2011.
The recently-concluded Subregional Transport Forum (STF-25) of the GMS Program highlighted the importance of behavioral interventions and stakeholders’ involvement to the reduction of road crashes and fatalities in the subregion. STF has been providing assistance in improving road safety for GMS countries since 2011.
Road safety remains an important issue in the subregion. Mr. Shihiru Date, Senior Transport Specialist, Southeast Asia Department, ADB, delivered a presentation on road safety to stakeholders from the GMS and development partners. Mr. Date emphasized the importance of knowledge sharing on road safety, including experiences in road safety program implementation during the COVID-19 pandemic. He encouraged everyone to advocate road safety, applying self-education and self-enforcement, which helped prevent COVID-19.
Mr. Hiroaki Yamaguchi, Director, Southeast Asia Department Transport and Communications Division, ADB, and co-chair of the meeting, acknowledged road safety programs by the GMS countries. He noted observations on best practices in road safety among GMS countries:
- Behavioral actions and/or initiatives that sought to change the mindset of the population have been effective in substantial reduction of fatalities or road accidents;
- Cambodia’s programs-based approach in the Rural Road Improvement Project (RRIP) is notable. The project incorporated road safety initiatives, such as:
- Engaging women in the community-based road safety campaign;
- Constructing school safety zones to protect school children and reduce traffic crash near schools; the campaign also promoted participation of teachers and students;
- Installation of road safety signages–which were approved by the Ministry of Rural Development–oversized vehicle barriers, and direction signs, to ensure safety in project areas;
- Installation of speed bumps to slow down traffic in villages; and
- Awareness raising on HIV/AIDS prevention through poster and leaflets on HIV/AIDS and human trafficking.
- Thailand’s active approach toward road safety, and from function-based funding to area-based funding.
Mr. Pich Chhieng, Director General, General Department of Logistics, Ministry of Public Works and Transport, Cambodia, chair of the meeting, noted that the STF cannnot overemphasize the importance of involving all stakeholders to truly bring down road crashes and fatalities.
The STF reviews, coordinates, and monitors regional transport plans and projects of GMS member countries. This year’s STF-25 was held on 14 June 2022 in hybrid format, in-person in Siem Reap, Cambodia, and virtually. Objectives of the meeting were to (i) report and exchange ideas on how the Working Group can contribute to implementing the priorities and initiatives under the GMS-2030 and COVID-19 Plan; and (ii) provide updates and/or agree on steps on road safety in GMS; Greater Mekong Railway Association (GMRA) and GMS Railway Development; GMS Freight Transport Association (FRETA) and improvements in logistics in GMS; and Early Harvest GMS CBTA. Read the Summary of Proceedings.