The upgrade of Egypt’s national road network and the establishment of new roads and bridges have largely contributed to the declining number of traffic accidents and consequent deaths in the most populous Arab country.
In late October, Egyptian Ministry of Planning and Economic Development said that the deaths caused by road traffic accidents decreased from 12,000 in 2019 to 7,000 in 2020, which marks over a 41.6-percent decline.
Planning Minister Hala al-Saeed noted that the country’s spending on upgrading and building roads and bridges doubled over the past couple of years.
Hassan Mahdy, professor of transport and roads at Cairo-based Ain Shams University, explained that there are three factors for every road accident, namely the human factor, the vehicle and the road.
“Although the road is not much responsible for accidents, the improvement of Egypt’s road network reduced crashes because it is accompanied by monitoring and enforcement of traffic laws,” Mahdy pointed out.
The establishment of new cities and the expansion of existing roads helped reduce traffic crashes, he continued, lamenting that Egypt loses more than 30 billion pounds (about US$ 1.92B) annually because of traffic accidents.
In July 2014, Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi launched the national project for roads, which targets the establishment of tens of roads to link the country’s provinces and ease traffic congestions, with a total length of 4,400 km.
Many highways in Egypt now have separate lanes or special roads for heavy vehicles, which have specific hours for running on certain bridges and roads.
The separate roads and schedules designed for heavy vehicles are behind the decline of traffic crashes and resultant casualties, according to Magdy al-Shahed, a traffic expert and former traffic police officer.
Shahed clarified that the traffic accidents involving trucks and trailer trucks result in larger numbers of casualties.
The traffic expert also said that the country built about 250 new bridges from 2014 to 2019.
“The upgrade of Egypt’s national road network is inevitable, for it goes in line with Egypt Vision 2030 with its economic and social dimensions, including the establishment of new cities,” Shahed told Xinhua.