Work on the development of strategies and legislation in the field of transport and traffic safety is often separated from the real situation on local roads and in local communities, which is certainly a consequence of the lack of better communication among all stakeholders and between different institutional levels.
This is one of the conclusions of the Conference on Sustainable Development Goals related to traffic safety, which was held on March 4th and 5th in Sarajevo, organized by the Ministry of Communications and Transport of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the UN Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE).
Furthermore, it was stated that there is money in this area, and that by adopting good measures and imitating those who do it much better, a good pathway can be made towards the vision zero.
In addition to numerous representatives of relevant institutions and international organizations from the region and Europe, the conference was also attended by representatives of the Center for the Environment, Tihomir Dakić and Dragan Kabić.
Some of the concerns and figures presented at the conference are:
- 3 million people died in traffic accidents in the UNECE region.
- 50 million seriously injured in traffic accidents in the UNECE region.
- From 1996 to 2018, the number of passengers using passenger transport services in Bosnia and Herzegovina decreased by 50% (from about 12,000 to about 6,000 passengers – which means that most of these passengers now use a private car).
- Currently, 99.5% of passenger transport services are related to bus transport, while only 0.5% are related to railways.
- The inconsistency of data on traffic accidents is huge, especially considering that the cantons (administrative units of the entity of Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina) have different approaches to collecting and entering them. Though, not everything is that bad – the final introduction of the CaDaS data entry system in traffic accidents in the Republika Srpska was praised, as well as the wishes of colleagues from the Federation of BiH to take over the same system.
- Statistics for BiH are scanty and incomplete, leaving wide scope for different interpretations. Thus, statistics for the same issue vary by 50% depending on whether the data are published by BiH institutions and agencies or by the World Bank or the World Health Organization.
- The number of dead on BiH roads is declining, but the number of seriously injured is stagnating.
- The number of people killed and seriously injured in motor vehicles on the roads in the UNECE region is declining, but the number of non-motorized road users (pedestrians and cyclists) who are injured are increasing.
Technological innovations in transport can contribute to the safety of all participants, and their high costs must not be measured by the costs of lost lives. However, this is not just about price, it is also about approaching the problem. That said, the question that arises is whether we will primarily deal with consequences or causes?
The degree of motorization increased sharply in the post-war period, which in combination with an inefficient control system is the formula for a real safety “fiasco”. The improvement of non-motorized traffic in urban areas can be acomplished through a much cheaper set of measures that at the same time ensure a better, more comfortable, healthier and safer life for all citizens, but also for passengers in transit. These measures mostly refer to improvements of the infrastructure for the movement of non-motorized traffic participants.