The World Health Organisation forecasts that road crashes will be the third most frequent cause of death and disability worldwide by 2020. More than a million people are killed on the roads every year, with 85% of road traffic deaths and injuries occurring in low-income countries. Non-motorised road users are particularly at risk - 500 children die every day in road crashes and in many developing countries 40–50% of those killed in road crashes are pedestrians. The UK Department for International Development (DFID) has a long history of commissioning research into improved road safety, including the development of road safety education (RSE) resource materials for use in the school curriculum. However, it is widely recognised that in developing countries not all children attend school, that parents and other members of the community have a significant influence on the behaviour of children and that adults themselves may not have benefited from any formal education. DFID's developing emphasis on poverty, livelihoods and sustainability issues suggested the need for a broader 'community' approach to road user education. This paper provides a review of such programmes, comparing developed with developing country practices, and a summary of empirical research undertaken in Africa and Asia using 'participatory' research techniques to test the effectiveness and durability of community RSE programmes, especially among high-risk vulnerable road users.
Proceedings of the ICE - Municipal Engineer (2008) 161 (2) 137-143 [doi: 10.1680/muen.2008.161.2.137]