Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) yesterday unveiled the road safety strategy that seeks to reduce accidents and traffic fatalities in Kampala by 50 per cent by 2030.
The strategy is in line with the country’s commitment to the second United Nations Decade of Action for Road Safety 2021-2030 with support from the Bloomberg Philanthropies Initiative for Global Road Safety (BIGRIS).
While launching the strategy, the Kampala Initiative Coordinator for BIGRIS, Ms Jemima Nalumansi, said the road strategy aims to achieve safety for all road users.
“The strategy reviews existing policies, interventions and efforts already in place towards improving road safety in the city, then identifies opportunities to improve existing infrastructure and policies, and proposes new data-driven ideas to reduce crashes and enable safer roads,” Ms Nalumansi said.
She added that the strategy outlines interventions that will be executed in accordance with phased implementation plans over the 10-year period.
Ms Nalumansi said each phase would be guided by a two-year implementation plan, which identifies priority, high-impact investments, financing and implementation.
Other targets are improving road safety data management system, harmonisation of existing standards, road rules and legislation, improving road user behaviours, improve safety of road infrastructure, reduce economic burden of road traffic crashes and promoting active travel within the city.
According to World Health Organisation’s health observatory data, road traffic injuries are the eighth leading cause of death worldwide with the age group of five to19 being the most affected.
Uganda’s Annual Crime Report for 2019 shows that there was a 0.4 per cent spike in the number of road crashes reported from 12,805 in 2018 to 12,858 in 2019, of which 3,407 were fatal. In Kampala alone, the report shows that 3,000 accidents were registered in 2019.
Ms Nalumansi said by reducing road crashes, the country’s economic resources would be directed to activities fostering development as opposed to covering expenses from road crashes.
Kampala Lord Mayor Erias Lukwago said while the road safety strategy is a good thing, the city authority should look at other underlying factors that contribute to road accidents.
Mr Lukwago said the current system of public transport does not guarantee safety of both motorists and passengers.
He added that both KCCA and the traffic police do not have complete data on the number of vehicles and boda bodas in the city, which complicates data collection.
“We have to put emphasis on funding because when you look at our road network of 2,100km, only 600kms are paved. This means that we can’t achieve road safety when our roads are still in a deplorable state. We, therefore, need more funding to improve the city infrastructure,” he said.
Mr Lukwago tasked KCCA technocrats to ensure that the road safety strategy is implemented, adding that the authority has previously unveiled a number of masterplans, which have never been implemented.
These are the transport masterplan for Kampala metropolitan area and the drainage masterplan.
KCCA technocrats attribute the stalled implementation to limited funding.
The Uganda Traffic Police director, Mr Lawrence Niwabiine, said there is need for city technocrats to act instead of just unveiling plans.
Mr Niwabiine said there is need to separate politics from administration if Kampala is to improve.
For instance, he wondered how a boda boda, taxi, trailer and other motorists could compete for the same space.
“Mr Lord Mayor, you wouldn’t want to be called Lord Mayor of the city where about six people perish in motor accidents daily. If we have the legal standard in place then where is the problem? I think we need to come together and find a solution to this problem once and for all,” he said.