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Global Plan for the Decade of Action for Road Safety 2021-2030

by Public Health Update


This Global Plan has been developed by the World Health Organization and the United Nations Regional Commissions, in cooperation with partners in the United Nations Road Safety Collaboration and other stakeholders, as a guiding document to support the implementation of the Decade of Action 2021–2030 and its objectives.

The Global Plan describes what is needed to achieve that target, and calls on governments & partners to implement an integrated SAFE SYSTEM APPROACH.

Who this Global Plan is for

This plan aims to inspire national and local government, as well other stakeholders who can influence road safety (including civil society, academia, the private sector, donors, community and youth leaders, and other stakeholders) as they develop national and local action plans and targets for the Decade of Action.

Building on the Safe System approach

The Safe System approach – a core feature of the Decade of Action – recognizes that road transport is a complex system and places safety at its core. It also recognizes that humans, vehicles and the road infrastructure must interact in a way that ensures a high level of safety. A Safe System therefore:

  • anticipates and accommodates human errors;
  • incorporates road and vehicle designs that limit crash forces to levels that are within human tolerance to prevent death or serious injury;
  • motivates those who design and maintain the roads, manufacture vehicles, and administer safety programmes to share responsibility for safety with road users, so that when a crash occurs, remedies are sought throughout the system, rather than solely blaming the driver or other road users;
  • pursues a commitment to proactive and continuous improvement of roads and vehicles so that the entire system is made safe rather than just locations or situations where crashes last occurred; and
  • adheres to the underlying premise that the transport system should produce zero deaths or serious injuries and that safety should not be compromised for the sake of other factors such as cost or the desire for faster transport times.

Recommended actions

Multimodal transport and land-use planning

  • Implement policies that promote compact urban design.
  • Implement policies that lower speeds, and prioritize the needs of pedestrians, cyclists, and public transport users.
  • Promote transit-oriented development to concentrate urban and commercial developments around mass transit nodes.
  • Strategically locate – where feasible – public, subsidized, and workforce housing to provide convenient access to high-capacity transit services.
  • Discourage the use of private vehicles in high density urban areas by putting restrictions on motor vehicle users, vehicles, and road infrastructure, and provide alternatives that are accessible, safe, and easy to use, such as walking, cycling, buses and trams.
  • Provide intermodal connectivity between transit and bike share schemes at major transit stops and create transport connections for bicycle and pedestrian travel that reduce total travel time.
  • Construct (or reconstruct existing) transport networks to ensure that non-motorized modes of travel are as safe as motorized ones, and most importantly serve the travel needs of all ages and abilities.
  • Promote positive marketing and use of incentives such as employer cost-sharing of public transport subscriptions.

Safe road infrastructure

  • Develop functional classifications and desired safety performance standards for each road user group at the geographic land-use and road corridor level.
  • Review and update legislation and local design standards that consider road function and the needs of all road users, and for specific zones.
  • Specify a technical standard and star rating target for all designs linked to each road user, and the desired safety performance standard at that location.
  • Implement infrastructure treatments that ensure logical and intuitive compliance with the desired speed environment (e.g. 30 km/h urban centres; ≤ 80 km/h undivided rural roads; 100 km/h expressways).
  • Undertake road safety audits on all sections of new roads (pre-feasibility through to detailed design) and complete assessments using independent and accredited experts to ensure a minimum standard of three stars or better for all road users.
  • Undertake crash-risk mapping (where crash data are reliable) and proactive safety assessments and inspections on the target network with a focus on relevant road user needs as appropriate.
  • Set a performance target for each road user based on the inspection results with clear measurable metrics at the road-attribute level (e.g. sidewalk provision).

Vehicle safety

  • Require high-quality harmonized safety standards for new and used motor vehicles, safety belts, child-restraint systems and motorcycle helmets.
  • Ensure that high-quality, harmonized safety standards are kept throughout the full lifecycle of the vehicle.

Safe road use

  • Enact and enforce road safety legislation
  • Establish traffic rules and licensing requirements
  • Ensure road infrastructure takes account of the needs of all road users and is designed to facilitate safe behaviours
  • Make use of vehicle safety features and technologies to support safe behaviours

Post-crash response

  • Provide a system to activate post-crash response
  • Build response capacity among lay responders (non-medical professionals)
  • Strengthen professional medical care
  • Establish requirements multidisciplinary, post-crash investigation
  • Provide social, judicial and, where appropriate, financial support to bereaved families and survivors.


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