By Dinh Dang Hai, Senior Officer of the HealthBridge Livable Cities Project in Vietnam
Life for pedestrians in Ho Chi Minh City is a little safer now thanks to measures undertaken by the local government, working with HealthBridge Vietnam and World Resource Institute (WRI).
Nearly 85 percent of the world’s countries lack adequate laws to counter the growing rates of traffic deaths and injuries. An estimated 90 percent of these fatalities occur in low- and middle-income countries.
In 2016, 8,685 deaths and 19,280 injuries occurred on Vietnam’s roads, according to estimates. Almost all traffic accidents in the country’s urban areas are related to motorcycles and cars. Unless action is taken, traffic accidents will become the seventh leading cause of death by 2030. Roads in Vietnamese cities should be made safer by reducing trips by motorcycle and car and promoting secure modes of transit, including mass transportation systems. One example of sustainable urban mass transport is the bus rapid transit (BRT) system, which can reduce fatalities and crashes by 40-50 percent.
Active transportation such as walking and cycling should be encouraged by providing safer infrastructure for pedestrian and bicyclist.
In that context, HealthBridge Vietnam and WRI are supporting the government of Ho Chi Minh City (Vietnam’s largest city) to improve road safety. Based on recommendations from this Road Safety Project Team, in 2016 the City installed refuge islands at more than 20 intersections downtown, aiming to reduce the distance that pedestrians must cross, thus improving safety. The City also integrated safety recommendations into the detailed design of the planned BRT system.
The Road Safety Project Team also conducted a Road Safety Audit for the City’s planned BRT system and a Road Safety Inspection of the downtown area. Results of these activities will provide it with evidence to make a set of recommendations to the City to improve road safety downtown as well as safe access to the planned BRT system.
HealthBridge Vietnam will continue this partnership in 2017 with the goal of making the streets of Ho Chi Minh City safer and creating a model for other Vietnamese cities to reduce traffic fatalities by providing safer environments walking and cycling as well as encouraging public transit.
Read more about our Livable Cities work in Vietnam