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Shared Roads, Shared Responsibility: Exploring Peer Education in Road Safety

Authors: Jokudu Guya, Sinethemba Mthethwa and Kevin Mutia 

[ICLEI- Local Governments for Sustainability- Africa]



The shift from road safety individual responsibility approach towards a more holistic practices that are pragmatic is crucial to cover various systemic aspects and influences that impact road safety. Road safety incidents are often blamed on the negligence of the pedestrian or the driver. However, it is important to consider the broader environment that influences these road incidents which may include the state of the roads that could affect driving behavior, the state of the vehicles that may influence road impacts, behaviors of road users, the state of post crash care systems, as well as the overall planning and design of movement systems within cities to allow for improved mobility. Thus, the Safe Systems Approach (SSA) recognizes the interconnectedness of these various aspects and shifts focus from blaming the user in the event of incidents. It considers a holistic overview of various pillars including safe roads, safe speeds, safe users, post crash care as well as multimodal planning to mainstream road safety.


This article shares learnings and outcomes from a peer to peer exchange session hosted by ICLEI Africa at the Walk 21 Conference, held in Rwanda. This session was hosted as part of the TRANS-SAFE Project.


Peer to Peer Exchange in the TRANS-SAFE Project

The peer to peer component of the TRANS-SAFE project focuses on facilitating a knowledge and skills sharing opportunity between key relevant stakeholders in various cities, regions and sectors. These include officials from local authorities, technical experts, and representatives from other institutions such as academia, transport and innovation. Peer exchange enables stakeholders to be capacitated with skills and knowledge that is relevant to addressing specific needs in mainstreaming the SSAs within demonstration actions in the project cities and beyond. The exchange also presents an opportunity to learn and better understand solutions and innovations under the SSA which have been tested out in various contexts. City to city sharing is a vital component of the peer exchange to foster sharing of experiences and learnings from the various activities undertaken as part of the project with other cities in Africa and beyond. This presents an opportunity for scaling and replicating actions and good practices in other cities in Africa and beyond.




The Power of Collaboration: Peer-Led Road Safety Initiatives

The Trans-Safe peer exchange in Kigali, Rwanda offered a peer-exchange session, and a networking session. The exchange served as a platform for Trans-Safe consortium partners to engage in collaborative sharing and learning aimed at enhancing road safety in Africa through north-south and south-south interactions. The discussions highlighted the importance of acknowledging the voices that are often not represented in discussions relating to road safety to ensure that multiple perspectives are incorporated in the development of policies and solutions to improve mobility for all in cities.


Through the exchange, stakeholders were able to learn from each other and share knowledge as well as best case examples from Africa, Europe, and Latin America. Participants were able to learn about novel and innovative approaches that have been tested out in other contexts which raised valid questions on contextualization of  relevant approaches in an African context. The peer exchange facilitated the sharing of best practices in road safety from different regions and cities.  Moreover, the exchange provided partners with an opportunity to pinpoint specific road safety challenges within their respective cities and regions through having discussions on road infrastructure in need of improvement and maintenance, as well as on the infrastructure that is lacking but essential.


Learning from Each Other: Peer-to-Peer Approaches to Road Safety Education 

From the peer exchanges, several key aspects emerged. It was noted that it is important for practitioners to understand and acknowledge the gravity of road safety interventions and their impact on people’s lives. Additionally, there were robust discussions on including people living with disabilities (PWDs) in conversations that relate to the development of roads/transport interventions to gather inputs, lived experience and perspectives that would improve their accessibility through universal design. Furthermore, it was noted that it is important to involve stakeholders who are key decision makers within government, who would ensure that the policies being developed are prioritized for implementation and that they are inclusive to PWDs. It was also seen that fostering partnerships with the private sector through innovative Public Private Partnerships (PPPs) would be beneficial in driving investment towards implementation of road safety infrastructure. Nonetheless, the aspects of peer learning and dialogue were seen as imperative in enabling continuous knowledge sharing and cross learning between various stakeholders.  


From the synthesis of the discussions from the world café and the networking session, a report was prepared that highlighted the main themes that emerged from the conversations as well as areas that participants would like to learn more about. It is intended that the insights captured in the report add value to the consortium. This will emerge from the highlighted gaps that need to be addressed as well as providing insights to partners involved in the demonstration actions. Furthermore it is hoped that the insights can be useful in tailoring future exchanges by incorporating key topics that emerged. All in all, it is important to facilitate knowledge exchanges and upskilling to support policy makers and decision makers including practitioners and local governments to inform improved road systems and practice,  This would enable them to network and share experiences with other stakeholders in various contexts in order to gather innovative solutions and practices that may be adopted and contextualized to the areas they represent.



From Peers to Protectors: Engaging Communities in Road Safety Education

It is Important to take forward from the discussions held at the peer exchanges that make part of the Trans-Safe project, the role that various actors play in implementing change and transformation in cities. When it comes to facilitating global discussions around road-safety practices, it is important to take note of synergies and opportunities to share reliable ideas. Additionally, it is key to consider contextualizing processes and ideas that need to be explored in translating best practice examples into the local context. Furthermore, it is crucial to also reflect on the resource and funding flows that are necessary for implementation of mile to mile connectivity while taking on a holistic approach that considers universal access and overall multi-modal transport solutions for transport justice. Likewise, collaborative actions are needed by various stakeholders and taking on individual and collective responsibility to contribute towards the development of sustainable cities instead of taking a business as usual approach.


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