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Lending Guidelines Mandate Safety Audits

The World Bank’s updated Environmental and Social Framework provides new traffic safety safeguards applicable to all loans and grants with road construction components. It represents a major achievement for all safety advocates and echoes calls formulated by IRF.

Released on August 4, 2016, the new Framework form part of a far-reaching effort by the World Bank to improve development outcomes and streamline its work. According to a statement published by the World Bank, the new framework will promote better — and lasting — development outcomes. It provides broader coverage and access, and will benefit more people, especially vulnerable and disadvantaged groups. It will also strengthen partnerships with other multilateral development banks, development partners, and bilateral donors.

Traffic and Road Safety

The Framework also introduces important new mechanisms aimed at guaranteeing better safety outcomes on road funded by the World Bank. These are presented below:

10. The Borrower will identify, evaluate and monitor the potential traffic and road safety risks to workers, affected communities and road users throughout the project life-cycle and, where appropriate, will develop measures and plans to address them. The Borrower will incorporate technically and financially feasible road safety measures into the project design to prevent and mitigate potential road safety risks to road users and affected communities.

11. Where appropriate, the Borrower will undertake a road safety assessment for each phase of the project, and will monitor incidents and accidents, and prepare regular reports of such monitoring. The Borrower will use the reports to identify negative safety issues, and establish and implement measures to resolve them.

12. For vehicles or fleets of vehicles for the purposes of the project (owned or leased), the Borrower will put in place appropriate processes, including driver training, to improve driver and vehicle safety, as well as systems for monitoring and enforcement. The Borrower will consider the safety record or rating of vehicles in purchase or leasing decisions and require regular maintenance of all project vehicles.

13. For projects that operate construction and other equipment on public roads or where the use of project equipment could have an impact on public roads or other public infrastructure, the Borrower will take appropriate safety measures to avoid the occurrence of incidents and injuries to members of the public associated with the operation of such equipment.

Setting Ambitious Road Safety Requirements

In January 2015, IRF had published a policy statement calling for the mandatory safety audits on all new roads funded through development loans. The statement is reproduced below.

The International Road Federation recognizes the significant role of the World Bank and other regional Multilateral Development Banks in influencing quality standards for road infrastructure and the broader transport system across all the countries where they operate. By the end of the United Nations Decade of Action for Road Safety 2011-2020, it is estimated these institutions will collectively have invested well over US $100 billion in road infrastructure programs across hundreds of individual projects, representing a considerable opportunity to introduce or strengthen risk management practices from the design stage.

The following statement has been prepared by the IRF as an endorsement of two recent publications Making Roads Safer – Learning from the World Bank’s Experience and MDB Road Safety Guidelines.

The International Road Federation recognizes that the global road safety crisis is a complex development issue that requires coordinated and sustained responses across all five pillars of the Global Plan for the Decade of Action. The IRF also considers that safe road infrastructure is a highly cost-effective pathway to the goal of achieving a 50 percent reduction in fatal traffic injuries by 2020.

Emerging economies are rapidly renovating and expanding their road networks to accommodate growing domestic trade and mobility needs. These new roads have enormous potential to stimulate economic growth and lift standards of living, yet can also present risks when key safety considerations are omitted in the design or construction phases.

Preventive risk identification measures, such as road safety audits carried out at the detailed design and pre-opening stages of new or rehabilitated roads, offer a well-established and cost-effective tool to independently review the safety characteristics of road projects, as acknowledged by the World Bank. Considering the MDBs’ development agenda, their ability to leverage public and private sector funds, and their strong ties with national road authorities, the IRF supports the mandatory introduction of, and associated funding for, road safety audits linked to all new MDB road investment loans.

Roads built today are durable assets whose lifespan typically span several decades, over which time the mix and volume of traffic is likely to evolve to a considerable extent creating new safety hazards. To prepare for these changes, road agencies must ensure regular road safety inspections are conducted. Road agencies must also retain well-trained staff with access to up-to-date knowledge resources to implement the findings of these inspections.The IRF encourages road agencies receiving MDB road investment loans to conduct a training gap analysis to determine immediate up-skilling needs, and develop a continuing road safety education program for their staff.


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