Public consultation is underway to inform measures to improve Malta’s road safety, following the Government’s announcement of a comprehensive action plan and an iRAP assessment conducted by Transport Malta and supported by the European Investment Bank (EIB) and EuroRAP partners last year.
Minister for Transport, Infrastructure and Capital Projects Aaron Farrugia announced the action plan in December, including a number of measures commencing in 2023 including:
- The revision of the Road Safety Strategy to 2030;
- Safeguarding the element of security in road infrastructure projects;
- The establishment of a Transport Safety Investigations Commission;
- The strengthening of the Road Safety Council as a consultant to the government, with its structure and role to form part of Malta’s laws;
- Increased enforcement and stricter fines;
- A change in culture fostered from a young age and closer cooperation with educational institutions; and
- Educational and information campaigns.
He advised that a white paper on the establishment of a Transport Safety Investigations Commission was being published for public consultation and the measures were explained in detail.
The Consultation is now open until 15 February, with feedback welcome to email@example.com
Road safety and the improvement of roads are priorities for Malta.
In line with a new European Road Safety Infrastructure Safety (RISM) Directive, the government transport authority, Transport Malta, asked EIB’s Safer Transport Platform for help in 2022. The Safer Transport Platform — Road Safety Advisory is an initiative launched by the European Commission and the European Investment Bank as a gateway to technical assistance and advice on finding financing for road safety projects.
EIB experts and external consultants mobilised by the European Investment Advisory Hub reviewed the existing system for managing road safety in Malta and the Hub provided a framework to perform road safety rating assessments, including training and knowledge-building requirements.
The assignment included piloting a 160km network-wide iRAP assessment, determining infrastructure safety on Maltese primary roads and developing a plan to invest in road safety infrastructure.
Right to left: EuroRAP representative Suzy Charman, Executive Director of the Roadway Safety Foundation, UK; Kevin Cheung, Senior Engineer, EIB; and local partners discuss road safety planning in Malta, June 2022
Transport Malta CEO Brig. Jeffrey Curmi presenting at EIB iRAP Project Meeting
Malta Business Weekly covered Minister Farrugia’s December press conference, reporting his advice that road safety is at the top of the government’s agenda and that we need to move towards Vision Zero, a vision that Malta subscribed to together with a number of other countries during the Maltese Presidency through the Malta Declaration.
“Everyone should have a role and responsibility to achieve these aims, including the government, authorities, drivers, and pedestrians. Together we all need to ensure that our roads are safe. For me, victims of road accidents are not simply numbers, but persons with families behind them,” Minister Farrugia said.
Safety investigations expert Dr Kevin Ghirxi said that the government is working on the setting up of a permanent, independent Transport Safety Investigation Commission. The commission will be composed of three bureaux, responsible for the safety investigation of air, maritime and road accidents, respectively.
Transport Malta CEO Brig. Jeffrey Curmi explained that while the road safety strategy expires at the end of 2024, the authority has already started working on a new strategy until 2030. “Work has already started so that, apart from continuing to implement measures that are still applicable from the current strategy, additional measures are also implemented, and the path for a new strategy is paved. An example of this is a process that started, enabling us to collect useful information that helps strengthen the road safety strategy 2024-2030,” Mr Curmi said.
Infrastructure Malta CEO Ivan Falzon stated that, “Safety should not be a standalone word; it’s a culture. We need a collective effort to ensure safety features in all that we design and do.”
EIB and EuroRAP partner support has been key to helping the transport authority meet its goals.
According to iRAP’s Safety Insights Explorer achieving UN Targets 3 and 4 for greater than 75% of travel on 3-star or better roads for all road users in the country by 2030 stands to save an estimated 1,261 lives and serious injuries over the 20-year life of road treatments with an economic benefit of USD$654.7 million – $4.1 for every $1 spent.
- InvestEU “Avoiding wrong turns in road safety: Malta improves fast-growing road transport system“, 25 July 2022
- Malta Business Weekly “Comprehensive action plan for road safety announced“, 22 December 2022
Image credit: Polina Kovaleva, Pexels and RSF