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Impact of Safer Roads on Community Health and Economic Growth

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IMPACT OF SAFER ROADS ON COMMUNITY HEALTH AND ECONOMIC GROWTH

Author:   Hamdi Hassan Mohamed (231282), yusuf abdirahman ahmed (236205), yahya mansoor(235850)  

Affiliation:   Universiti Utara Malaysia  

Address:         Transport and Logistics Department, School of Technology and Logistics Management, College of Business, Universiti Utara Malaysia, 06010 Kedah, Malaysia.

Telephone:  +601121410221, +60189495341, +60132843882

E-mail:        hamdixhassan@gmail.com, towfiiq2015@gmail.com, yahya200056@hotmail.com 

ABSTRACT:

The purpose of this paper is to study the impact of safer roads on community health and economic growth. We know that transport safety contribute to the economic growth and well being of the community in general by providing access to education, health care, jobs, and markets. The research method that is used in this paper is secondary data which is obtained from the books, internet and journals. The advantages of having safe road and developing road networks and strategies to maximize the potential contribution of road networks to community health and economic growth is discussed and further explained. This research will also benefit the Government and the civil society to understand the importance of proper road infrastructure in health community and economic growth. Therefore, the result of this paper will hopefully emphasize how crucial is safe roads to the health community and economic growth.

Keywords: road infrastructure, traffic rules, economic growth, government policy.

1.0 INTRODUCTION

Transportation projects can have various impacts on a a community’s economic development objectives, such as productivity, employment, business activity, property values, investment and tax revenues. In this case "community" can range in scale from individual households to cities, regions, nations or even the entire world.

 Road transport and mobility are the life line of a modern economy and contribute significantly to economic growth and our well being and are an essential part of the social development of countries. A well functioning transport system provides access to markets, jobs, education, health care, and does so as efficiently and safely as possible, while minimizing its adverse environmental impacts.Faced with an increasing number of road accidents, fatalities, congestion, and climate change, countries, regardless of their level of development, are faced with severe challenges in meeting the road transport and mobility needs of their populations. These challenges include expanding, developing,maintaining, and operating the transport infrastructure as efficiently and safely as possible, along with minimizing the adverse environmental and other impacts of the sector (Mensah,E.2014,August 04)

In general, transport projects that improve overall accessibility (i.e., they improve businesses ability to provide goods and services, and people's ability to access education, employment and services) and reduce transportation costs (including travel time, vehicle operating costs, road and parking facility costs, accident and pollution damages) tend to increase economic productivity and development.

2.0 LITRETURE REVIEW

2.1 Community health

Safer roads impacts community health in terms of environmental pollution which  is a well documented cause of human illness. Sprawling developments are associated with increased automobile use and accompanying air pollution. Poor air quality exacerbates and may even cause asthma and other respiratory diseases. Disruption of farmlands and forests and paving for new roads and parking reduce the ground’s natural filtering capacity, causing increased siltation, runoff of pollutants from impervious surfaces, and reduced water quality.

Every year, thousands of lives are lost on the road nationwide, and every year, road safety becomes more and more important to teach people as they start their journey as new drivers. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, there were 29,989 fatal crashes in 2014 alone, resulting in a total of 32,675 deaths. That’s quite a lot for a single year, and if we want to reduce that number in the coming years, it is imperative to focus on road safety.

2.2 Economic growth

The economy and safe mobility are cooperative and interrelated systems. The economy affects mobility, but, obviously, safer roads also influences economy on various levels. Decoupling economic growth from the development of the road transport sector has traditionally been among the objectives of sustainable development. Thus, nowadays, economic growth is related to transport demand, and this also influences transport safety, as, simply put, if traffic on the roads is higher, then, sadly, the probability of an accident is also higher. Among others, this conclusion has also been drawn by Constantinos Antoniou and George Yannis (Antoniou & Yannis, 2013). Connected to the relationship explained above Jankó has shown (Jankó, 2012) that 63% of the variations in the total number of accidents involving personal injuries between 2001 and 2011 could be explained by the changes in the volume index of GDP. This a relatively significant influencing factor, but the results also imply that 37% of the decrease has been brought about by other factors not covered by the regression analysis, like for example the legal background, police control, changes to the infrastructure, other means of prevention, mere chance etc.

Experts worldwide do also continuously investigate the relationship between the economy and transport safety.  Relying on data from the period 1975-2011, Yannis, Papadimitriou and Folla (Yannis et al., 2014) proved in an international research covering 27 European states that a decelerating economic growth and the decrease in GDP results in a diminishing fatality rate (Elvik, 2010). Of course, there are many other factors beyond the economic growth, which influences the number of accidents. Some of the researches managed to capture the dynamics of accident related time series providing an overall methodology to describe the changes of accident data in time (Commandeur et al., 2013), however this information focuses on the interaction between the economy and road safety.

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