Research Papers

Effective implementation of the Safe System Approach - The Belize Road Safety Project

Version 1
Date added June 18, 2019
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Category 2019 CARSP XXIX Calgary
Tags Policy and Practice, Session 6A
Author/Auteur Johnson, Scott-Bradley, Hyde
Stream/Volet Policy and Practice

Slidedeck Presentation Only:



Background/Context: Belize recorded 70 road traffic deaths in 2009 - 21 deaths/100,000 population. This high death rate was a public health concern that, given the resulting loss in productivity and increased vulnerability to poverty, had significant social and economic repercussions.

Following an iRAP Road Assessment review and a Road Safety Management Capacity Review, a Demonstration Corridor Road Safety Project has been completed on the highest risk highway in the country, a length of 50 miles. The project was funded by the Government of Belize and the Caribbean Develoment Bank.

Aims/Objectives: The aim of the project was to achieve a 20% reduction in traffic-related injuries and fatalities in the 5 years of the project.

The objectives of the program were to:

  • Implement evidence-based quick wins with a focus on high crash locations and behaviours
  • Foster cooperation between the primary stakeholders
  • Encourage integration of engineering, enforcement and education initiatives
  • Implement an effective road safety management program and the components of a Safe System Approach.
  • Implement recommendations from the iRAP Belize assessment and the Road Safety Management Capacity Review.

Methods/Targets: The program was aimed at all Belizean road users. The plan involved all key line ministries and 9 municipalities. These were all represented on the Operational Steering Committee which provided oversight to the project.

  1. Results/Activities: The proposed solution was a cross-sectoral approach focusing on:
    Improving the safety of the road infrastructure
  2. Enhancing the behavior of road users through a communication strategy and school education program
  3. Improving enforcement of traffic laws and instituting new laws
  4. Improving post-crash care
  5. Building road safety management capacity amongst responsible entities.


  • Developed the National Road Safety Committee and an Operational Steering Committee
  • Implemented the recommendations of the iRAP report
  • Deployed 2 Highway Patrol Units and 2 Type 3 Ambulances
  • Provided training and equipment for enforcement and emergency medical personnel
  • Developed a School Road Safety Curriculum integrated into the National Curriculum and provided road safety materials for schools - this included training teachers to use the materials
  • Developed a communications strategy that included media messages and advertising on a variety of key topics
  • Provided a variety of training courses and seminars
    In addition:
  • Developed a long-term MasterPlan for Road Safety to 2030 which included 5-yr Operational Plans for the key line ministries and 9 municipalities
  • Assisted in the development of the new Safe Driver Manual

Due to the success of this first phase of the program (2013-2018) a phase 2 will commence in 2019-2024.

Results: Fatality reductions on Demonstration Corridor
2009 (base) 2015 2016 2017 2018 (to date) 33 6 7 13 2

The following lessons were learned during this project:

  • Effective and ongoing partnership with the Caribbean Development Bank and key line Ministries has led to an integrated Safe Systems Approach to road safety.
  • Line Ministries have identified their role in the broader, system wide approach to road safety and have committed appropriate human and fiscal resources.
  • Having a champion to take on the responsibility of leading and overseeing the development of an effective road safety plan is key. In this case it started with the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development in 2013, now the Ministry of Economic Development and Petroleum.
  • Collaboration with other related efforts at the national level to maximize the use of existing capital and human resources. For example the, Belize RSP worked in partnership with the Social Investment Fund projects funded by the World Bank.
  • Young men and women between the ages of 16 to 29 years function as catalyst/advocates for road safety in a young nation. The Belize Youth for Road Safety, a non-profit Non-Governmental Organization was established during project implementation and it has been particularly effective in educating their peers since 2014.
  • Saving lives on the road does not only mean having good and improved infrastructure, but also building a multi-faceted approach through cooperative partnership and multi-ministerial approach in collaboration with the private sector and civil society.
  • Towards the end of the project there were several mechanical challenges with all the project vehicles and some of the police equipment. It is recommended that one of the items in the initial procurement process is to have prospective vendors demonstrate their ability to address the issues in a timely manner.