In March, with the support of EWMI ACCESS, the Caucasus Research Resource Centers (CRRC) Georgia and the Partnership for Road Safety launched a new project STOP – Safer Transit Options for Passengers.
The project aimed at increasing the safety of intercity transport in Georgia and reducing road accidents through applying internationally practiced approaches.
The number of road accident fatalities is twice as high in Georgia as the average in the EU. Almost one fifth of such accidents occurs on the main east-west highway and involves minibuses. This results in high human costs and impedes land transit, logistics, tourism, and economic growth. The EU-Georgia Association Agreement requires that Georgia develop a safe land transport system.
To address this issue, the CRRC-Georgia and the Partnership for Road Safety will begin with reviewing Georgia’s obligations under the Association Agreement in the sphere of transport and analyze policy options in the context of European experience in intercity transport safety. It will also conduct interviews and focus groups with passengers of minibuses, representatives of minibus companies, and drivers to study their attitudes toward this issue.
As a social experiment, the implementing organizations will negotiate with the minibus companies and drivers to place Safe Driver stickers on the select number of minibuses and have the drivers sign the safe driving pledge, thereby committing themselves to observe traffic safety rules.
The minibuses involved in the campaign will then be monitored (monitors will themselves travel on these minibuses) to identify whether and how these stickers and pledges encourage safe driving culture. Data analysis will show whether the implementation of this or any other self-control models that have been well-tested in the EU countries may succeed in Georgia.
Based on the study, CRRC-Georgia and the Partnership for Road Safety will submit concrete recommendations to the government, designed to strengthen the safety of intercity transport.
The project will assist the Land Transport Agency, the Ministry of Internal Affairs, municipal governments of Tbilisi, Kutaisi and Batumi in taking low-cost decisions in the transport sphere, based on the EU experience that will enable Georgia to significantly improve the intercity transport safety.