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An Asian Development Bank (ADB) report reveals that a major road safety project in Shaanxi, China, reduced deaths by 33% and injuries by 53% on 850km of roads. This translates to 32 lives and 868 injuries saved annually.

This impressive outcome coincided with a 22% increase in household travel on the project roads and was achieved by increasing the length of road rated 3-stars or better by 52%.

The USD $344 million Shaanxi Mountain Road Safety Demonstration Project, completed in 2020, was implemented by the Shaanxi Provincial Transport Department and ADB, with iRAP and ChinaRAP* providing technical support.

Key outcomes were:

  • Deaths: Down from 96 to 64 per year (-33%)
  • Injuries: Down from 1,636 to 768 per year (-53%)
  • Length rated 3-stars or better: +52% (27% to 59%)

Improvements to the roads included realignments, paved shoulders, safety barriers, reduced speed limits, traffic calming and pedestrian crossings.

Apart from the road improvements, more than 200 professionals took part in road safety design and management training, and 2,400 students, teachers, parents and residents participated in safety education activities.

iRAP Global Programme Director Greg Smith said, “A key feature of the Shaanxi project is that it made safety the primary focus of this large-scale infrastructure investment”.

“For the first time in a large ADB financed project, road designers could use the iRAP methodology to forecast the real-world safety implications of their design decisions.”

“The project, which successfully coordinated between transport bureaus, traffic police, and schools, is a model that other provinces and countries are able to replicate.”

“The project benefited from technical guidance produced by the Research Institute of Highway (RIOH) as part of the national ‘Highway Safety to Cherish Life’ program which helped to create an enabling environment for authorities to implement enhanced safety treatments. It was also one of the first projects to use newly released safety barrier standards for rural roads,” he said.

The project built on earlier baseline safety assessments of roads by the ChinaRAP team with support from the World Bank Global Road Safety Facility (GRSF) and Bloomberg Philanthropies.

* Founded in 2007, ChinaRAP is a partnership between the Research Institute of Highway (RIOH), Ministry of Transport (MOT) and the International Road Assessment Program (iRAP).

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