Posted on October 21, 2016

Some roads in Qatar should be modified to be safer for both motorists and pedestrians, a Swedish road expert has suggested.

“Public Works Authority (Ashghal) might need to retrofit some of these old infrastructures,” Swedish National Road Consulting AB managing director Jonas Hermanson urged. “Sweden and Qatar face similar challenges in their effort to substantially reduce road fatalities and serious injuries, particularly in dealing with old infrastructures,” he told a press briefing at the embassy on Wednesday.

The two countries recently inked a deal to further improve traffic and road safety in Qatar, which has been “very receptive” in adopting Sweden’s national road traffic safety programme dubbed as ‘Vision Zero.’ The approach proved to be highly effective in Sweden, which resulted in lower fatalities and injuries since its inception in 1997. It aims to achieve zero deaths or serious injury on road accidents. Hermanson, a keynote speaker at a transport safety forum in Doha this week, stressed that Ashghal has been focusing a lot in making Qatar roads safer for everyone. “Ashghal is looking at these new constructions, it is doing road safety audits, looking at forgiving roads and (road) signs, among others,” he said.

Forty six 4D microwave radar detectors have also started operating in Mesaieed, detecting various road violations and slowing down speeding motorists. Several high tech cameras were also installed earlier on major highways in Doha. “We have a deep respect for the Qatar National Vision 2030, which has singled out few very important priorities and one of them is road safety,” Hermanson said. “Qatar has great ambition in this area and we have a lot to offer in this field,” he noted, adding that Sweden and its embassy in Doha have developed a close co-operation with the Ministry of Interior (MoI), Traffic Department, Ashgal, Hamad Medical Corporation, and other government agencies.

In Sweden, 10 specialists conducted a total of 6,500 studies on road fatalities, each doing between 20 and 30 in-depth studies per year, helping authorities develop effective remedies on various road issues. In Qatar, MoI is working closely with Ministries and other stakeholders in its campaign to substantially cut the number of fatalities on the road, noted Swedish ambassador Ewa Polano, who lauded the Ministry’s initiative in raising public awareness on the importance of road safety and responsible driving. She said they are also open for a tie up with driving schools in Qatar in raising the level of skills and competence of learners who are trying to secure a driving licence.

“We are developing a new test procedure and theoretical test for next year in Sweden and we are going to show this to Qatar authorities in the coming months,” Polano added.

 source: Gulf Times

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