Belize Road Safety Project wins Prince Michael International Road Safety Award
The Belize Road Safety Project has received a Prince Michael International Road Safety Award. The Project, which was launched in 2013 with funding from the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) and the Government of Belize, received the commendation in the Road Safety Management category.
The Road Safety Project focuses on the corridor between Belize City and Belmopan, including Belmopan Ring Road. Prior to 2013, this stretch of road accounted for almost 50 percent of all road traffic deaths in the country of Belize. At the end of December 2015, this figure had fallen to less than 10 percent.
At the Awards, the Project was lauded for collaborative use of the Safe System approach. Under this approach, road safety is considered to not just about crash reduction, but also the prevention of death and serious injury. The aim is to create a road system that can anticipate and accommodate human error, as well as provide effective post-incident care in the event of an accident.
Daniel Best, Director, Projects Department, CDB said “We are very pleased that the Belize Road Safety Project has been recognized by the Prince Michael International Road Safety Awards. This Project has really exceeded expectations; the initial target was a 20 percent reduction in road traffic fatalities, and we have seen a drop of over 35 percent. In comparison, similar roads in Belize have seen an increase in fatal accidents. We hope that this Project can be replicated across Belize, and similarly, across the Region”.
The project utilises a multi-sector approach. Initiatives were undertaken to build the country’s road safety management capacity, improve the safety of road infrastructure and improve post-crash care. There was also an education component. A group of young people was trained to promote road safety among their peers, and a road safety education curriculum was developed and implemented in all schools along the road corridor. Police officers and first responders also received training.
The Project is funded through a CDB loan of US$ 11.8 million, with an additional commitment of US$ 2.5 million from the Government of Belize. It commenced in February 2013 and will conclude in February 2018. It is expected that the interventions from this project will be replicated in future road safety initiatives across Belize over the next three to five years.
The Prince Michael International Road Safety Awards recognise achievements and innovations, which improve road safety worldwide. HRH Prince Michael of Kent established the awards scheme in 1987 in the United Kingdom.