EASST Expertise facilitates launch of the EBRD e-learning course on Road Safety Engineering in Serbian

News, Road Safety Governance and Capacity Building

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) has expanded its Road Safety Engineering E-Learning Course by introducing a new Serbian language version targeted at Western Balkan countries (previously the Course was available in English and Russian).

Around one hundred participants, including representatives of road authorities, academia, road construction and transport companies from the Western Balkan Region, including Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Montenegro, North Macedonia, and Serbia joined a two-hour virtual presentation of the course on 17th November, hosted by EASST Expertise.

The course itself aims to provide “comprehensive guidance on how ensure road development projects prioritise safety for all road users … covering 15 core topics related to road safety engineering and audit from speed management to stakeholder engagement and climate resilience.”

During the launch event, participants were given a taster of what the course has to offer with introductory lectures by Tolga Imamoglu, Senior Manager for Transport and Road Safety at the World Resource Institute, on Road Safety Audits, Impact Assessment and Inspections, and Emma MacLennan, Director of EASST, on the importance and tools for stakeholder engagement for the road construction projects.

Tolga, a certified Road Safety Auditor, stressed how road safety audits can save both lives and money. He used an example from the United Kingdom illustrating how audited schemes are five times more effective in reducing crashes than unaudited schemes. At the same time, the cost of the road safety audit is less than 1 per cent of the total cost of the project, yet often saves millions in catching mistakes before they happen not to mention the economic value of lives saved.

Likewise, Emma highlighted the importance of stakeholder engagement in ensuring that communities really benefit from the projects, and not carry the burden of mistakes in design.

Both road safety audits and stakeholder engagement are central to the management of risks and impacts on affected communities. Missing out on these elements at the earliest stages of a project, like feasibility concept stage or preliminary and detailed design stages, might lead to preventable road deaths and injuries once the project of road construction is completed.

Derran Williams, Senior Health and Safety Advisor at the EBRD, emphasised this in his introduction to the course. He reminded participants of EBRD’s trailblazing policy[1] to undertake road safety audits at all stages of a road construction project and highlighted the importance of engaging with local communities and key stakeholders who could help (re-)evaluate the quality of, as well as the safety of, designing roads for all users, not just cars.

In the context of the new UN Decade of Action for Road Safety 2021-2030, the EBRD E-Learning Course is a valuable tool. It covers the five pillars of road safety – road safety management, safer roads, safer vehicles, safer road users, and post-crash response – and aspires to contribute to the common global goal of reducing road death and serious injury by 50% by 2030.

[1] EBRD Environment and Social Policy 2019/PR4. After being introduced by the EBRD in 2014, this policy influenced other financial institutions. The World Bank developed and introduced similar policies in 2018 and the European Investment Bank is about to launch its own similar policy.