Data, data, data! That was the message sent at the second GRSP MENA workshop held in Brussels on November 5 and 6. Entitled ‘Road Safety Data Systems’, the event brought together leading road safety practitioners and decision makers from the Southern Mediterranean Region, representing eight partner countries of the European Union funded project, ‘Euromed Transport: Support to the MENA Road Safety Programme’.
Explaining the importance of data in road safety, Samar Abouraad, GRSP MENA Region Manager and Programme Team Leader said: “Data allows us to focus and prioritise our actions. Through the data we are able to define our strategy, set our targets and address the real problems”.
“Without data, there is no sustainable reduction in road traffic fatalities and injuries” she added.
The two days were divided into interactive sessions with each country team presenting on the state of data at the national level. While many complained of the absence of a unified reporting system and missing indicators, they also noted that there was enormous progress taking place in this area.
Demonstrating this point, during the previous workshop held in May, countries suggested that vulnerable road users and speed were the issues in need of the most urgent attention. In the recent November workshop, the hard data presented by participants confirmed these assumptions.
“Data can provide socio-economic information which is very helpful for advocacy” noted Sandra Arbid, Road Safety Junior Specialist at GRSP. “This can help us move the road safety agenda forward by showing politicians that road safety is an investment rather than an expense – hence the importance of properly analysing the data, not just collecting it.“ she underlined.
What distinguished this meeting was that it allowed participants not only to exchange information and benefit from each others’ experiences, but also to think of and develop new ways of applying and using data in their pilot projects within the framework of the broader programme.
“Now is the time to test your new data systems and to enhance them” said Abouraad as she pledged the full support of GRSP to the countries by providing them with tools and assistance so as to build their capacity with regard to road safety.