Building road safety engineering capacity in Tashkent

News, Road Safety Governance and Capacity Building, Uzbekistan

One of the core elements of the Global Plan for the Decade of Action for Road Safety 2021-2030 is improving road infrastructure. In particular, the Plan states that:

“Road infrastructure must be planned, designed, built and operated to enable multimodal mobility, including shared/public transport, and walking and cycling. It must eliminate or minimize risks for all road users, not just drivers, starting with the most vulnerable.”

In 2020, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) was among 10 multi-lateral development banks to sign a joint communique endorsing the goals of the UN Resolution Res/74/299 and the Global Plan.

This week, the ADB is following up on this commitment, working with EASST and the National Automobile Club of Uzbekistan (NACU) to deliver a road engineering webinar in Tashkent – with an emphasis on designing safe infrastructure for all road users.

“I have seen too many examples of road engineering that have contributed to problems on the road: that have made it more likely a vehicle will crash into an object, or into another vehicle, or collide with a pedestrian. We should not be tolerating these problems. This webinar has been organised by the Asian Development Bank to open the discussion on how to avoid road death and injury through smarter road engineering practice and better stakeholder engagement. Safe road engineering cannot be regarded as a ‘luxury’ but should be treated as an essential element. The truth is that road crashes cost us all a lot of money and are a barrier to achieving economic potential.” Pawan Karki, Senior Transport Specialist, Asian Development Bank (Uzbekistan Resident Office)

Taking into account the needs of vulnerable road users and local communities is vital to avoiding errors in road development projects. The webinar, which is based on the EBRD Road Safety Engineering e-learning course, is targeted at local road designers and other relevant stakeholders, including government ministries, members of technical universities, road authorities, and important civil society stakeholders to address these vital issues.

It will cover key principles of how to improve safety in road design including speed management and an introduction to road safety audit and inspection, how to engage civil society and other stakeholders in a meaningful way, and why this leads to much better outcomes.

“In Uzbekistan, ADB has several projects along the CAREC corridor related to road improvement. This event is important to catch the attention of road owners and designers and alert them to potential issues in the early stages of making technical decisions. Also, it is very important to observe and improve safety conditions during the execution of construction works. We hope this kind of training can improve safety and service standards of roads financed by the ADB in Uzbekistan. As a non-government agency working on road safety, the National Automobile Club of Uzbekistan is ready to support initiatives in the implementation of more sustainable and safer roads in the future as well.” Anvar Matkarimov, Head of Road Safety Department, National Automobile Club of Uzbekistan (NACU)

A recent roundtable meeting organised by the NACU addressed issues of infrastructure and speed in Tashkent highlighting how some roads in the city are failing to meet technical safety standards. Our training this week will hopefully build on these findings and help identify other training needs and the potential for further development of road safety engineering training and capacity building in the city to ensure roads meet the standards needed to keep every road user safe – especially the most vulnerable.

“At EASST, we truly believe in building local capacity and sharing expertise with different stakeholders on the ground. This is the first time we are engaging with stakeholders in Uzbekistan, and we are grateful to the ADB for this opportunity. Today, we are using Zoom to reach out to those who otherwise would have been very difficult to reach.” Dmitry Sambuk, Deputy Director for Strategic Partnerships & Digital Innovation, EASST