Posted on February 03, 2017

Three Swedish experts will start next week a series of discussions on Qatar’s road safety awareness campaign, Swedish ambassador Ewa Polano has said.

Speaking to Gulf Times, the envoy noted that specialists from the Swedish Road and Transport Research Institute (VTI) will meet with senior officials of Qatar’s Ministry of Interior (MoI) on February 9 to tackle a number of topics listed for the three-month road safety programme. “Two are already in town and we have a third specialist, a congestion expert, coming on Thursday and we will have a roundtable on road safety with MoI,” Polano stressed. Last year, HE the Prime Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Nasser al- Thani approved the “Bilateral Sweden-Qatar Expert Exchange Programme on Vision Zero and Road Safety,” which includes assessing the education aspect of Qatar’s road safety campaign.

The agenda of the forthcoming session will include an overview of the Sweden-Qatar co-operation of Vision Zero since 2015, congestion consultancy, updates on HMC simulators, status on the proposals for research co-operation between Swedish VTI and Qatar University (risky youth behaviour such as street racing and dune bashing), and Vision Zero Conference in Stockholm on June 14-15, among others. Dr Henriette Wallen Warner, Dr Sonja Forward and Dirk van Amelsfort have confirmed their attendance in the meeting next Thursday with National Traffic Safety Committee secretary-general Brigadier Mohamed Abdulla al-Malki and General Directorate of Traffic director general Brigadier Mohamed Saad al-Kharji.

Dr. Wafa al-Yazeedi, chairperson of Rehabilitation and Physical Medicine at Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC), and other officials from MoI, Qatar University, Swedish companies in Qatar and HMC have also been invited to the meeting. The exchange programme will tackle a number of issues such as traffic enforcement, engineering, crash data, and fatal crashes, as well as driver’s education, among others, according to Polano. She said highly qualified traffic experts, who are working for the Swedish government, will be travelling back and forth between Sweden and Qatar for three months to facilitate their presence in the meetings.

Qatar is looking at Sweden’s proven traffic safety management system dubbed as ‘Vision Zero’ policy, aimed at achieving zero deaths or serious injuries on the road. Experts who were invited to speak at traffic and road safety forums and conferences in Doha last year tackled a number topics and steps to raise public awareness on how to make roads safer. Besides dealing with speed and the use of seat-belts, experts are also expected to tackle challenges in changing the behaviour of road users in Qatar, which hosts a multinational and multicultural population.

Polano said Minister of Transport and Communications HE Jassim Seif Ahmed al-Sulaiti and Brigadier Mohamed Abdulla al-Malki have been invited to visit Sweden to see how Vision Zero is being implemented. The embassy is also keen to partner with driving schools in Qatar to raise the skill levels and competence of learners who want to secure a driving licence.

source: Gulf Times

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