In an era where road fatalities and injuries stand as global concerns, with alarming statistics such as road crashes becoming the leading cause of death for individuals aged 15 to 29. It is vital for organizations working in the road safety and transport sector to work collectively in addressing these concerns, especially in developing countries where the impact of road crashes is highest. Considering these distressing trends, Road Safety Action International (RSAI) recognized the need to engage with the road sector through influential platforms. One such platform is the Conference on Asphalt Pavements for Southern Africa (CAPSA), a prestigious gathering that has been a mainstay in southern Africa since 1969 and is globally renowned as a premier conference in flexible pavement engineering.

    A Catalyst for Change

    Understanding the direct correlation between road pavement quality and the rising number of road accidents leading to fatalities and injuries is pivotal. This link is even more pronounced in developing countries. The World Health Organization (WHO) underscores the disparity in road traffic fatality rates, with low- and middle-income countries reporting significantly higher rates (27.5 and 19.2 per 100,000 population, respectively) compared to high-income countries (8.3). The African region bears the highest road traffic fatality rate globally, at 26.6, while the European region boasts the lowest rate, at 9.3. Recognizing the dire need for change. The Conference on Asphalt Pavement for Southern Africa (CAPSA) 2023 emerged as a pivotal platform for catalyzing change and innovation. This event sought to introduce unique asphalt road pavement and construction knowledge to the region, which should incorporate safety measures.

    RSAI's Advocacy at CAPSA 2023

    RSAI took the opportunity to advocate for road safety at CAPSA 2023, with a team comprising the National Coordinator and the Accident Victim Program Team Leader. Their presence was miraged by a series of engagements with various institutions and stakeholders, including other road safety organizations. The recognition that road traffic injuries are preventable, and that comprehensive action is required from multiple sectors, including transport and infrastructure safety, was at the core of their message.

Tina Smith and Cosmas Cole attended the 13 Conference on Asphalt Pavements in Southern Africa

The Role of CAPSA 2023 in Road Safety

CAPSA conferences have a rich tradition of promoting knowledge sharing and professional insights, innovation, and development. In RSAI, this is invaluable, as we rely on the latest insights, innovations, and best practices to enhance road safety knowledge, insights, and promotion. The conference not only acknowledges global challenges such as climate change and urbanization but also underscores the central role of resilient road infrastructure in addressing these issues. In Africa, where road accidents and fatalities remain persistent concerns, having access to the latest technologies and methodologies is paramount.

Empowering through Knowledge and Inspiration

CAPSA 2023 featured distinguished speakers and presenters who offered valuable insights into various aspects of road infrastructure, including road management, road striping, and asphalt recycling. This knowledge is not limited to engineers; it offers inspiration and a deeper understanding of critical design processes for road safety organizations. Inspired by the conference, RSAI is set to implement innovative strategies for road safety, education, awareness, and management in Liberia and Africa. One of the immediate considerations is advocating for the incorporation of technology into new road materials that enhance skid resistance or adopting emerging technologies that improve traffic monitoring and incident response.

A Safer Road Ahead

As Africa continues to grapple with road safety challenges, CAPSA 2023 has positioned itself as an eye-opener for genuine progress in road safety based on its diverse poll of stakeholders. The collaboration and insights gained from the conference offer a pathway to promote safer roads to major stakeholders, advocate measures to reduce accidents, and, ultimately, the preservation of lives on African roads.