Saturday, January 3, 2009

Good News: Malaysian Roads Will be Rated For Safety

IRAP Europe
1. Again, I got this news from New Straits Time and found it quite interesting. The picture above not related to the news I want to share. Like hotels being rated with stars or cars being rated with stars (NCAP), roads nationwide would be rated according to its safety level and it is estimated that road accidents could be cut by 30%. For example (not true), PLUS Highway (4 stars), LPT (2.5 stars) and so on..

2. Transport Minister Datuk Seri Ong Tee Keat said the Road Safety Department and Malaysian Institute for Road Safety Research (MIROS) under his ministry and the Works Department (JKR) under Works Ministry have embarked on a joint-project to evaluate safety of roads in the country. So far, the pilot project under International Road Assessment Programme (IRAP) has evaluated the safety level of 3,800km of roads last year. I personally knew the guy who did a research on this. His name is Alvin Poi, also being assisted with his head unit, Marizwan and his department boss, Ir Jamilah. They are all good people and working hard on this project.

“The safety of the roads were identified like star ratings of hotel,’’ said Ong.

3. He also said the pilot project has since been expanded to cover all road networks in the country when the outcome of the pilot project was found to be useful.

‘‘We will have a complete inventory of the rating of the roads then,’’ said Ong.

4. It is not known when the project, which started last year, will be completed. Parameters of the rating for the safety level included the width of the road, road surface, signages, lightings and even the guardrail, Ong said. These are the factors that considered during rating work.

“Road designs plays a big role to reduce road accidents,’’ Ong said this to reporters after launching a road safety campaign in conjunction with The Super Home Ideas Exhibition and Exclusive Property and Investment Show held at Mid Valley Exhibition Centre on Saturday.

5. Also present at the event is Datuk Suret Singh, director-general of Road Safety Depatment. Last year, more than five percent of Malaysian roads (3,800km) were successfully evaluated for safety and this rating would pave the way for a scientific approach to safer roads and fewer accidents.

6. Under the IRAP carried out last year on mostly federal roads, it was found that more than 90% of the 3,700km of roads surveyed scored two-stars and above out of five stars. Statistics have shown that said 91% of road fatalities occur on non-highway roads. According to the Malaysian Institute for Road Safety Research (MIROS), complacency in taking care of road infrastructure could now be avoided with this sort of evaluation method.

“The roads would just deteriorate if we don’t take care of everything,” said Miros director-general Prof Dr Ahmad Farhan Mohd Sadullah.

7. Prof Ahmad Farhan added that having done the study, some of the roads would require upgrading works. Yeah, in short, it is to make them better. MIROS won't allow Malaysian to travel on the crappy road.

“This is not to say that road conditions are the only factor when it comes to accidents, but the results will help us identify what needs improving to make safer roads.”

8. Prof Ahmad Farhan said the Works Department had their own plans but with the results, notes could be compared to coincide and prioritize upgrading works with their plans and IRAP findings.

“We hope that we can stagger and prioritize so that the roads that require the most attention, that is, the blackspots, will be given attention first,” Prof Ahmad Farhan said.

9. Malaysia is the first country in Asia to adopt IRAP and with the success of the pilot, Prof Ahmad Farhan said the second phase would be carried out soon.

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