| Zee Yusri |
REDUCING car dependency, keeping traffic moving, achieving a sustainable society and strengthening governance are the four broad strategies identified in the Land Transport Masterplan 2014 (LTMP), which sets out a series of land transport policies under seven strategic goals containing a further 38 high-level and long-term policy recommendations.
This was highlighted by the guest of honour at the launching of the Land Transport Department’s White Paper for Brunei Darussalam yesterday, the Minister of Communications, Pehin Orang Kaya Hamzah Pahlawan Dato Seri Setia Awang Haji Abdullah bin Begawan Mudim Dato Paduka Haji Bakar.
The minister also underlined that one of the concerning issues was the road congestion that will be experienced later due to a high car ownership ratio where an annual average rate of nine per cent growth translates to a high dependency on private vehicles in meeting people’s daily mobility needs.
He added that road congestion will also occur due to the number of vehicles against the length of the roads, which stood at 3,167km in 2013, an increment of only 44km from 2012. Moreover, there are only 105 public buses, 465 school buses and 45 taxis in Brunei currently, which is highly inadequate in providing alternative modes of transport in the country.
“In line with the National Vision 2035 and the ministry’s vision of a Smart Society and Excellence in Communications by 2017, this White Paper contains national transport policies that form the basis of a national land transport strategy and its implementation plan,” stated the minister.
He assured that as the sector that affects all segments of the population, the implementation of the LTMP will offer more employment opportunities, increased efficiency in the movement of people, goods and services both in the country and regionally, and can achieve social sustainability with specific emphasis on reducing road traffic injuries and fatalities.
The minister then revealed that in 2013, deaths from transport accidents is among the top 10 major causes of death in Brunei Darussalam, and that globally, road traffic injuries are the eighth leading cause of death, as well as the leading cause of death for young people aged 15 to 29.
The minister then shared World Health Organization statistics that mention some 1.24 million people die annually on the world’s roads and the cost of dealing with the consequences of crashes, which runs into billions of dollars.
“As of November 30, there have been 22 road fatalities recorded where almost half are made up of vulnerable road users like motorcyclists and pedestrians. From these statistics, I am confident that Brunei would be able to align its road safety initiatives and strategies with its set targets and objectives,” the minister concluded.
The launching of the white paper was held at the opening ceremony of the two-day public National Road Safety Seminar 2014, dubbed ‘Our Strive Towards Safer Systems’ which kicked off yesterday afternoon at Institut Teknologi Brunei’s lecture theatre 2.