Road safety in Liberia not only cost the national economy around 7 per cent of GDP during 2017, but has also had an immense human cost. In the three years following the end of the Ebola Crisis, the number of people killed in road accidents in Liberia was roughly equal to the number killed by Ebola itself.
With road casualties growing at a faster rate than the economy in recent years, the Government of Liberia, in conjunction with its development partners, has taken action. Cardno were engaged by Liberia’s Ministry of Public Works to develop a 10-year Road Safety Action Plan for Liberia as part of its ongoing LIBRAMP World Bank contract. Cardno’s in-house technical experts in the IT Transport team in London wrote the all-encompassing plan.
Road safety is exceptionally difficult to address as responsibility for it sits within the mandates of multiple government stakeholders and agencies who rarely work in conjunction with each other. However, the levels of cooperation during the design of this road safety plan was unprecedented.
Ministries of Transport, Health, Education, Public Works and the Liberia National Police all contributed to the US$22.1m plan, which was publicly launched by President George Weah, once of English Premier League football fame.
The levels of enthusiasm being demonstrated by the Liberian government and agencies, regarding road safety, are extremely promising. Reducing the numbers of injuries and fatalities on Liberian roads will contribute significantly to their economic growth and Cardno has guided this process, showing global, technical thought leadership.
To develop and implement effective road safety policy and strategy, it is essential to forge new working relationships between these stakeholders. Securing new funding for road safety measures from development partners can be challenging without this kind of unified approach.
Rising to meet these challenges, Cardno mobilised in-house expertise to address technical, financial and political issues associated with facilitating change.
From an early stage, the team engaged stakeholders and development partners in the process and held several workshops, involving all relevant agencies, to discuss road safety issues, the importance of addressing them and how this could be achieved.
We undertook a detailed literature review and used this data, along with feedback from stakeholders, to develop a gap analysis and Road Safety Assessment Matrix. This work helped shape the Road Safety Action Plan, which aims to deliver road safety interventions through a National Road Safety Secretariat.
The 10-year action plan was launched in October 2018.