HomeWord of MouthBetter Road Safety Will Boost Economic Growth in Bangladesh

Better Road Safety Will Boost Economic Growth in Bangladesh

Five winning teams of the World Bank-United Nations Road Safety Champions’ Video Competition were awarded today in Dhaka. The competition sought the ideas for making Dhaka’s roads safer from young Bangladeshis between the ages of 18-23 and received an overwhelming response.

“Road fatalities are more than personal tragedies, they undermine a country’s growth and human development. Like other countries, by improving road safety, Bangladesh can further reduce poverty and accelerate economic growth,” said World Bank Vice President for South Asia, Hartwig Schafer during the Award Ceremony.

While congratulating the winners, Schafer added, “We all are very impressed with the creative, practical and scalable solutions for Dhaka’s road safety proposed by the contestants. These ideas are a testament that the road safety crisis is preventable. The World Bank and the United Nations will continue working together with the Government of Bangladesh to improve road safety.”

The World Bank and the government of Bangladesh are discussing a $250 million possible support for comprehensive road safety improvement.

“Road safety affects us all. With an increasing number of motorized vehicles, road accidents have become the fourth leading cause of death of children between 5 and 14 in Bangladesh. So, road safety is very much a development agenda and we must act now,” said Mercy Tembon, World Bank Country Director for Bangladesh and Bhutan.

The competition was launched in September 2019 by the Honorable Finance Minister A H M Mustafa Kamal, MP, the UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Road Safety Mr. Jean Todt, and Hartwig Schafer.

“SDG target 3.6 seeks to halve road traffic deaths and injuries by 2020 and SDG target 11.2 includes a focus on providing safe, sustainable transport systems for all, improving road safety and with special attention to key groups such as children and the vulnerable. This joint UN and WB initiative reached out to young people to find unique ideas and solutions from their fresh perspective through the video competition. I congratulate all the young people who took part in this video contest. Your ideas contribute to the effort to find sustainable solutions and make the roads safer for all of us,” said Mia Seppo, UN Resident Coordinator in Bangladesh.

Schafer, Tembon and Seppo handed out certificates and prizes to the winners at the World Bank’s Dhaka office. The contest called for participants to submit a video within 2-minutes duration with a befitting title to respond to the question, “What would you change to make the roads in Dhaka safer?”

A five-member panel of judges included Korvi Rakshand, founder of JAAGO Foundation, Iqbal Habib, Architect and Joint Secretary of Bangladesh Environment Movement (BAPA), Ayman Sadiq, founder of 10 Minutes School, Dandan Chen, World Bank Operations Manager for Bangladesh and Bhutan, and Dr Mahfuzul Huq, Technical Officer, World Health Organization.

Key themes that emerged from the contest included: introducing separate bus lanes, mobile apps, smart buses, under-the-surface barricade system, speed camera, and limiting the number of bus trips and random parking to take or drop passengers through digital means.

The winners are:
First Prize: Kazi Md. Marfu-Um Abid, Farhana Haque, and Md. Fahimur Rahman Shuvo from Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (BUET)
Second Prize: Md. Fahmid-ul-Alam Juboraj, Farnaz Fawad Hasan, and Reshad Karim Navid from BRAC University
Third Prize: Md. Taufiquzzaman Pranto from Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (BUET)
First Runner-up: Prottoy Roy, Srishti Roy Chowdhury, and Fahim Faisal Raunaq from Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (BUET)
Second Runner-up: Abrar Mahmud Chowdhury, Naweed Kabir, and Md. Fahad Wafiq from BRAC University