Tirana, March 30, 2015/Independent Balkan News Agency
By Edison Kurani
A recent report of the World Bank shows that road accidents have an average cost of 130 million Euros a year for the country or 1,5% of GDP. This figure includes all costs: medical costs, the damages caused to vehicles and roads, but also the damages caused as a result of life losses in case of fatal accidents.
According to the report, road safety is an old problem for Albania, which has continued to worsen from one year to another. Official data indicate that last decade, injuries from road accidents quadrupled, namely from 400 cases in 2010 to 1564 in 2010. During this time, fatal accidents resulting in life loss have varied from 250 to 400 cases a year.
These figures classify Albania as one of the countries with the highest death rate from road accidents, namely 10 to 14 people per 100 thousand residents. In West Europe, death rate varies from 3 to 8 people per 100 thousand residents.
If we consider the number of vehicles, then with 84,6 causalities for every 100 thousand vehicles, Albania has a death rate ten times higher than the EU average or two times more than the economies similar to it.
Efforts to reduce the number of accidents
Within 2020, the Albanian government wants to reduce this indicator by twice. The plan includes a number of measures, from the strengthening of regulation to investments in the construction of new roads or the maintenance of existing ones through a joint project with the World Bank.
The Board of Executive Directors of the World Bank Group approved in the past two days a total amount of 265,9 million Euros for Albania, where 66 million Euros will be used for the Maintenance and Road Security Project.
Doerte Doemeland, chief economist at the World Bank, says that the Maintenance and Road Security Project aims at maintaining the road conditions and improve road safety, strengthen sustainable and efficient management of road values and safety conditions at the benefit of their users. The maintenance of national roads has been constantly poorly managed thus damaging the sustainability of the transport sector in Albania.
Road safety remains a major social problems even for public health in Albania with a large number of victims per year compared to the countries of the region.
Doemeland says that the project will also help the government in conducting reforms for the management of public investments in order for investments to be supported from a fiscal point of view and in line with the short term budget.
Artan Guxho, Senior Engineer of the World Bank and project leader offers more details” |The project will improve safety in around 1334 km of national roads with the highest volume of circulation in Albania. This project is expected to benefit road users in all of Albania thanks to the improvement in road maintenance, reduction of time and travel cost and the reduction of economic and social costs that relate to road accidents”.
The results of the project will be measured through objectives determined based on the periodical performance and maintenance routine, improvement of road safety, the star based evaluation of the national road network and the drafting of maintenance plans as part of the management of road assets. The total cost of the project is 128,47 million Euros, with a joint funding of 62,57 million Euros from the Albanian government.
Since Albania became a member of the World Bank in 1991, it has benefited from 86 projects with a total value of 2,4 billion USD, in the form of grants and loans from IDA and IBRD. /ibna/