ABU DHABI // Almost a third of the capital's internal roads were found to be dangerous in a recent survey of high-risk traffic areas.
Majed Al Kathiri, head of traffic services section and road safety at Abu Dhabi Municipality, said a survey of high-risk areas and corridors in Abu Dhabi identified more than 6,000 issues.
"We need to intervene urgently to treat the most dangerous sites and our plan for 2011 to 2015 covers all high-risk areas," Mr Al Kathiri said.
"The municipality has set a budget of Dh300 million for this period."
Planned solutions include installing more speed bumps and guardrails, increasing the size of zebra crossing and drop kerbs, and installing new fences at main and arterial routes within Abu Dhabi.
"We started implementing the fencing strategy six months ago with Electra Street and Sultan bin Zayed Street as a pilot project,"Mr Al Kathiri said.
"We try to encourage safe crossing on roads and the use of the 35 underpasses in the city."
Pedestrian bridges are planned for the road near the Pakistani School and Madinat Zayed Shopping Centre on Muroor Road, near Khalidiyah Mall, in Bein Al Jesrain and in Baniyas.
"It will be tendered very soon and construction is scheduled to start by mid-August," he said.
The other initiatives include safety improvement projects such as speed transitional zones on Khaleej Al Arabi Road and Sheikh Zayed Street that alert motorists they are entering a low-speed zone, visual cues to improve speed control and channelling and driver clarity, and safety zones outside 240 schools.
All of these moves are part of Abu Dhabi's response to the Decade of Action on Road Safety, a global policy movement prompted by the UN, which began in May 2011.
About 1.24 million traffic deaths occur each year on the world's roads. The goal of the UN Decade of Action on Road Safety is to reduce the forecast 2020 level of road deaths by 50 per cent, to fewer than one million a year.
"There are 928 annual deaths in the UAE and 372 annual deaths in Abu Dhabi, which means a person dies every day," Mr Al Kathiri explained.
"In response to those figures, we created a joint committee to promote road safety, prioritise road safety in the emirate and come up with an Abu Dhabi road safety action plan.
"Different tasks were assigned to meet the target to reduce road fatalities by 4 per cent annually.
Abu Dhabi Municipality focused on pedestrian crossings, reducing speed, improving geometric design of roads, improving safety in school zones, and reducing dangerous behaviour among road-users, including pedestrians.