Greater Noida– Building safer roads at the outset, instead of the traditional approach of removing road defects after fatal crashes have occurred, is a more cost-effective and comprehensive approach to reducing number of road accidents, a senior World Bank official said on Friday.

“The World bank is concerned about increasing road deaths world over despite most countries, including India, being signatory to UN Decade of Action to reduce fatal accidents by half by the year 2020,” said Jose Luis Irigoyen, Senior Director of Transport and ICT at the World Bank.

“A coordinated, holistic approach to road safety is essential if we are to meet our 2020 targets. Investing in a safe system approach where road design, vehicle speeds, vehicle design and road user behaviour work together to ensure zero road deaths and injuries makes sense,” Irigoyen said during a session at the World Road Meeting (WRM) organised by International Road Federation (IRF) here.

“Since about 90 per cent of road fatalities occur in low and middle income countries, World Bank is committed to addressing road safety in its projects,” he added

Rob McInerney, CEO of the International Road Assessment Programme (IRAP), said if there was seriousness about achieving the UN target, there was a need to systemically change one- and two-star roads into three- and four-star roads in low and middle income group countries including India.

“We can begin with the ten per cent of high volume, high risk roads where half the deaths and serious injuries occur,” he said adding such a strategy was cost effective.

“But it is more than just good economics. It is a real, far-reaching investment in the health, environmental security and human happiness of this and future generations,” McInerney added.

Star rating of roads is done on basis of vehicular and passenger safety as well as speed.(IANS)