Working together to eliminate high-risk roads in Vietnam with a human-centered approach: Key findings of the Citizen Engagement Study presented

May 25, 2022

GIA LAI Province, Vietnam – May 25, 2022 

It is only possible to reduce road injuries and fatalities by 50% by 2030 if we join forces with each other. In Gia Lai province, Vietnam, this is exactly what we did together with our trusted partners by engaging citizens to raise their voices and share their road safety concerns with us. We cannot hope to solve the issue of dangerous roads by ourselves. We must listen to what the community needs are. The Global Plan outlines a human-centered approach to road safety- it is time that we follow this best practice and actively interact with our communities to create lasting changes. 

The road so far: 

This study’s ultimate objective is to prepare technical road safety studies and their dissemination to inform the World Bank on safety engineering measures that could save lives on a high-risk national highway in Vietnam. 

In order to inform the World Bank and support the Government of Vietnam on safety engineering measures that could save lives in the country, AIP Foundation collaborated with the FIA Foundation, Global Road Safety Facility (GRSF), the International Road Assessment Programme (iRAP), and FRED Engineering to prepare a technical road safety study assessing road safety perspectives on the National Highway 19 (NH19) located in Pleiku City.

NH19 is part of the Trans-Asia Highway, one of the key corridors in the Greater Mekong Subregion, which connects Bangkok to the Vietnamese Central Coastal region through Cambodia. It is also the key transport route connecting Eastern Cambodia and Southern Lao People’s Democratic Republic with Vietnam’s Highland provinces and Central Coastal regions. The NH19 road conditions are very dangerous and used by heavy trucks, which leads to road infrastructure deterioration, such as dangerous potholes. The traffic situation on NH19 is also very high-risk, with large numbers of high-speed vehicles, including vulnerable road users’ transportation such as a significant number of motorcycles, non-motorized traffic and local pedestrians. The lack of road capacity and safe conditions constrains NH19’s connectivity role and exposes vehicles and people using the road to a high risk of traffic crashes.

Linh*, a community member of the Duc Co district, shared, “the road quality is poor. There are lots of trucks, which makes the road degrade very fast. Trucks often take over other vehicles carelessly, making motorcycles pull over to the side and fall because the roadsides are bumpy.  90% of road pavements are potholes. The road is just like a patchwork after being repaired, and trucks easily make it broken again”.

The Citizen Engagement Study:

The study comprised of personal interviews with motorcyclists, in-depth interviews with local authorities, and focus group discussions with motorcyclists and community members. The role of citizens is critical to the study as they are the true experts about the roads they walk along or drive on every day. The citizens are the road users who experience and observe the road, discuss and share the last news about it with neighbors, and are most at risk from road crashes. By inviting them to share, they are becoming more aware of road safety’s impact and of the importance of being heard by the organizations in charge of road modifications.

The study aimed to identify the road safety issues, concerns of motorcyclists and community members living or working along NH19, and their recommendations for infrastructure aspects of road safety and road design plan to make the highway safer, thereby safeguarding vulnerable road users.  It also explored stakeholders’ perspectives on the road safety risks and recommended road infrastructure safety measures and road design plan for the World Bank-financed project on NH19.

In total, 391 motorcyclists participated in quantitative interviews. In addition, AIP Foundation conducted 12 focus-group discussions with 44 motorcyclists and 40 community members and 8 in-depth interviews with local authorities.

The road today and ahead: 

Recently, AIP Foundation team and local Government partners presented the final results and recommendations from the citizen engagement study in strategic locations along NH19, at an online workshop organized by The World Bank on the 2-wheeler Design Manual** and NH19 Citizen Engagement Study. 

These key findings include: 

  • 3% of surveyed motorcyclists reported experiencing a road crash on NH19 in the last 12 months
  • Among 181 participants who have been involved and/or seen crashes on the NH19, 31% pointed out the crash happened due to poor road conditions
  • Only 9% of motorcyclists felt safe when riding on NH19
  • 96% of surveyed motorcyclists agreed that they should have separate lanes for motorcycles, non-motored vehicles such as cycles, and pedestrians.

The final technical report is currently being finalized by AIP Foundation and is due to be published in June 2022. Overall, this project is a great example of holistic road safety – from assessment to partner & citizen engagement to road safety infrastructure upgrades, working together to pave the way to safe roads for life. 

*The name of the interviewee has been changed due to protection laws. 

**Following the completion of the Design Manual and Standard for Exclusive Roads and Lanes of Two-Wheel Vehicles in 2019, The World Bank’s Global Road Safety Facility (GRSF), under the Bloomberg Philanthropies Initiative for Global Road Safety (BIGRS), advocated for updating this Design Manual with a specific focus on the road safety perspective.  

© Photograph Credit: Fotografin via Pixabay. Accessed on 26 May 2022.

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