BACKGROUND

 

Road accidents are a growing health, social and economic problem worldwide. It is estimated by WHO (World Health Organization) that about 1.3 million people are killed in road accidents, and between 1–3% of country’s GNP (gross national product) are lost due to traffic accidents. Further, road traffic accidents are the leading cause of death among young people worldwide.

According to latest reports from the World Health Organization (WHO), road traffic fatality rate per 100 000 population in partner countries of this project proposal is 13.2 in EG, 22.9 in JO and 22.3 in LB, comparing to only 3.0 for Sweden, 5.4 Spain and Poland 11.8.
http://apps.who.int/gho/data/node.main.A997

Whereas EU countries since late 1970s, steadily and systematically reduced the number and severity of road traffic accidents by implementing coordinated multi-sector remedial and preventive solutions, the problems continue to grow in many developing countries includes EG-JO-LB countries. Much of this existing knowledge and know-how in EU can be transferred and implemented in EG-JO-LB countries.

It is well-known that the EG-JO-LB motorization, urbanization and infrastructure are expanding rapidly. These uncontrolled changes have resulted in an increase number of traffic accidents. To meet the challenge and market demands, highly-trained graduate engineers equipped with both technical and educational skills in traffic safety are highly needed in EG-JO-LB. According to discussion with project partners during the proposal preparation, traffic safety is a political priority in EG-JO-LB, however improving road traffic safety in EG-JO-LB is not easy matter. Past and current experience, knowledge and research are not efficient enough. There is a need to tackle simultaneously many fields of action (road design, traffic engineering, traffic management, technologies, education, regulation, etc.). Additionally, there is apparently no reliable/accessible road accident database (as the same in EU countries, national database integrated between police, health and insurance data), no research and professional “know how”, and no adequate channels to allow all the tasks required to be performed and properly coordinated between stakeholders at different levels (public sector, private, industry and university). To further complicate the matter; there is lack of money available that obliges engineers and decision-makers for finding specific cost-effective countermeasures.

Although the target countries in EG-JO-LB have different levels of motorization (vehicles per population), but they share similar traffic nature, road user behavior, road accidents types, legislations, management, etc. For instance, Vulnerable Road Users as pedestrians and children are always over represented in traffic accidents in these countries. Therefore, the three countries can share largely together knowledge, research results and good practices. At the same time, EU partners have already passed similar stages of motorization and challenges, where EG-JO-LB can learn from. EU region set up successfully national and regional targets to cut the number of road traffic accidents by 50% in year 2020 (previously similar target was set up in 2010). In the MENA region in general and the target 3 countries EG-JO-LB in particular, no clear qualitative/quantitative targets or systematic national action plan and mechanism have been set up to reach the stated these goals. Many recent lessons can be learnt here from EU.

Based on discussion with partners in EG-JO-LB, efforts are limited in terms of up-to-date advanced curricula and effective research at universities in the subject road traffic safety. At postgraduate level, MSc students in civil/transportation engineering learn very little about traffic safety and mostly from traffic engineering or road design.  Besides, if the traffic safety curriculum exists, it is not up-to-date, standardized and upgraded. As the universities produce future engineers who will respond to the real-world challenges and problems. Therefore an advanced modern curriculum in traffic safety is necessary.

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