In partnership with Amend (and with funding from UKAid) we are proud to celebrate the launch of the Infrastructure Toolkit for Non-Motorised User Safety in African Cities: Challenges and Solutions. It consolidates decades of work into a straightforward guide on how to prioritize safety in the design and improvement of roads and in varied environments in Africa.
The Infrastructure Toolkit has been developed to be accessible, handy and, above all, practical to the people who make the decisions about where and how roads are built and maintained in Africa—engineers, governments, and contractors in small towns and large cities alike.
The toolkit’s focus is Africa and the unique issues that affect healthy journeys across the continent. It was developed with information and learning gathered in Africa and, while the principles of road safety are the same everywhere in the world, the toolkit’s focus is on realistic, readily available solutions for the African context.
From Africa to the world
Africa’s roads are the most dangerous in the world. Even though the majority of people in Africa get around by foot, the roads in both rural and urban environments are designed for motor vehicles, even though only a tiny minority of road users own vehicles. And as urbanization and the youth population increase, the numbers grow disproportionately on both sides: ever more pedestrians yet more space created for vehicles.
Amend’s work in Africa has allowed them to understand how road hazards occur at every level and in every corner of regional development. This work also reconfirms one of the underlying principles: roads that are safe for children are safe for everyone.
“We found that the conditions in African cities where we have worked and implemented safe infrastructure for non-motorised users—particularly the vulnerable ones, including schoolchildren and persons with disabilities—were very similar,” explains Amend engineer, Juliet Adu, based in Ghana. “In putting the toolkit together, we thought that Africa would be one place where you would find solutions that have been tried and tested in both developing and developed countries but customized to meet our particular needs.”
The toolkit segments road development and improvement into 12 challenges with corresponding solutions. They range from designing footpaths/sidewalks to street vendor accommodations, accessibility for differently abled persons, and choosing the right paint for zebra stripes / crosswalks. Some of the simplest details can save the most lives.
We invite you to take a look at the toolkit: it is made for engineers and planners but offers easy insight to anyone who uses roads—everyone in the world—on how the details matter and even small fixes can create profound and lasting change. It specifically addresses the African experience and what Amend have learned from their School Area Road Safety Assessments and Improvements (SARSAI) program, along with research and evidence gathered from around the globe.
The Infrastructure Toolkit for Non-Motorised User Safety in African Cities: Challenges and Solutions has been published with the assistance of the FIA Foundation. Thanks also to our friends and collaborators at ITDP, NACTO, UNEP and WRI for the images and ongoing partnership to make Africa’s roads safe.
This article also appears on the Amend website here.
Cover image: Amend