By Maloy Kumar Dutta
DHAKA, Jan 30, 2023 (BSS) - The government is planning to introduce Integrated Traffic Management and Incident Detection System (ITMIDS) in a bid to ensure safer highways, an official said.
The ITMIDS will be undertaken to detect speed and traffic violations and enable traffic flow analysis while the real-time monitoring will be replicated along some of the highway corridor pilots, said Roads and Highways Division (RHD) Additional Chief Engineer Dr Md Abdullah Al Mamun.
The ITMIDS will coincide with the National Highway Safe Corridor Demonstration Project Sites side by side CCTV, video, and audio feeds, as well as Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) technology.
The government will introduce the ITMIDS under a multi-sector project, Bangladesh Road Safety Project as RHD, Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS), Bangladesh Police and Bangladesh Road Transport Authority (BRTA) will implement it.
The project costs US$480.87 million. The World Bank will provide $357.91 million as credit while rest of $122.96 million will come from government treasury.
Talking to BSS, Dr Mamun said the project is now waiting for approval from Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (ECNEC).
He informed that the World Bank has already approved $357.91 million of financing to help Bangladesh improve road safety and reduce fatalities and injuries from road crashes in selected high-risk highways and district roads.
The Road Safety Project will help Bangladesh achieve the Sustainable Development Goals on road safety by 2030, he added.
He said the objective of the project is to build road safety management capacity and achieve targeted reduction in traffic fatalities and serious injuries in Bangladesh.
Mamun mentioned that the project comprises four components- multi-sectoral road safety pilot projects, priority road safety investments, technical assistance and contingent emergency response.
Under the multi-sectoral road safety pilot project, safe-system based road safety pilot projects are designed to demonstrate the effectiveness of multi-sectoral interventions on a high-risk, high-visible section of the network, for the targeted reduction in road deaths over the project period.
The project aims to enhance coordination between the road agencies (RHD, LGED, and district authorities), Highway and Metropolitan Police, health agencies, and civil society.
These measures will be independently monitored during the project period to determine the change in road safety outcomes, so that they can be replicated over the wider-geographical area through greater coordination between all stakeholders, and eventually scaled up country-wide.
These measures will allow reducing disaster-related accidents in vulnerable zones through safer and resilient design features and support the enhancement of emergency services with post-crash care (including for disaster-related emergency events).
The traffic calming measures and road safety civil works will have a positive impact on congestion reduction and will facilitate NMT travel patterns as three distinct pilot projects will be undertaken.
Under the Priority Road Safety Investments component, the government will support the expedited implementation of some stand-alone priority activities as per the provisions of the recently enacted Road Transport Act.
The idea aims to demonstrate quick wins that can be had under infrastructure, vehicle and user safety, and post-crash care, and help establish best-in-class systems.
The infrastructure improvements, along with improved systems/facilities and templates would likely then help replicate the pilot projects to more corridors, urban areas, and districts.
The proposed activities will also help reduce disaster-related accidents in vulnerable zones with safer and resilient design features, support the enhancement of emergency services and better assess vulnerabilities (with an improved crash data system).
Under the Technical Assistance component, the government will focus on technical capacity building and tools for all departments and implementing agencies to enable them to formulate a robust National Road Safety Program with a targeted vision and concrete investment plans in the short, medium, and long term.
Under the Contingent Emergency Response component, the government will improve the GoBs ability to respond effectively in the event of an emergency in line with WB procedures on disaster prevention and preparedness.
Following an eligible crisis or emergency, the recipient may request the Bank to reallocate project funds to support emergency response and reconstruction.
Mamun said the project will support Bangladesh in achieving the road safety targets set out in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that call respectively for a halving of global road deaths and universal access to safe transport in cities by 2030.
It will directly help reduce the number of deaths and injuries from road traffic crashes (SDG 3.6), he said.
The project will also contribute to making cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient, and sustainable (SDG 11.2).
Scaled-up road safety investment in South Asia is an urgent priority and an important focus of the global dialogue on regional and country performance expectations, Mamun added.
He said the project will contribute primarily to the CPF Focus Area 1 Objective 1.2 Improved transport connectivity, by rehabilitating the entire national highway (NH) and regional highway (RH) networks, and related mass action treatments, especially in high-risk corridors, major and minor junctions, bazaar areas, locations connecting feeder roads to the highways, and at railway crossings in Bangladesh.
He also said the project is well aligned with all four thematic pillars of the World Bank Group crisis response.
It is expected to reduce crash-related fatalities and injuries as it will establish a system of mobile emergency medical services accessible through a toll-free number with dedicated ambulances for the transportation of crash victims, he added.
He said it will also strengthen the emergency departments of district hospitals through triaging protocols and negative pressure isolation rooms for the management of crash victims.
The long-term road safety engagement will support the strengthening of policies, institutions, and investments for resilient, inclusive, and sustainable recovery by rebuilding better and saving lives, Mamun added.