Chapter 2 - Methodology

Chapter 2 - Methodology

The 42 countries specified under the TOR have been grouped into the following sub-regions which have been used to facilitate the data analysis.

Angola Eritrea Benin Burundi
Botswana Ethiopia Burkina Faso Central African Rep
Lesotho Kenya Cameroon Chad
Mozambique Madagascar Cote d'Ivoire Congo
Namibia Malawi Equatorial Guinea D R Congo
South Africa Somalia Gabon Mali
Swaziland Tanzania Gambia Niger
Zambia Uganda Ghana Rwanda
Zimbabwe   Guinea Sudan
    Guinea Bissau  
    Sierra Leone  

2.1 Data Collection

The Terms of Reference for the study request that the most authoritative information by country on the type and location of road crashes taking place, the category of road user involved and the costs of crashes be collected. In order to do this the team have made full use of all sources of data available. These include information obtained from the literature review where a few countries presented conference papers etc based on analyses of national statistics. Other sources of information come from colleagues at TRL who are currently working in Africa and from international publications such as the International Road Federation Annual Handbook (which presents basic statistics on number killed and injured, licensed vehicles etc.).

In previous regional reviews undertaken by TRL and others of countries in Asia, Eastern Europe and Latin America/Caribbean, a detailed questionnaire was devised and sent to the various countries concerned. This requested information both on basic crash and traffic statistics and also on the ways in which various aspects of road safety are dealt with in each country.

About two years ago, in anticipation of a similar project being undertaken in Africa, the UNECA, Addis Ababa, sent virtually the same questionnaire to a number of African countries. About fifty copies were distributed and a somewhat disappointing ten copies were returned and several of these were only partially completed. Of the ten returned, two were for countries of North Africa (Algeria and Morocco) and were not relevant to this particular study (of Sub-Saharan countries).

Once the extent of the information available from the earlier surveys was established, TRL designed a short 3-page version which was sent to the 42 countries included in this study. Although sent by TRL, it was made clear to recipients that the work was being done 'under the auspices of the UNECA' who also advised on the names of key contacts in each country. Unfortunately despite various chase-up faxes, letters and e-mails, very few (10%) completed questionnaires were received.

2.2 Literature Review

TRL maintains a number of international databases of transport and road-based information. Through these, users are able to access abstracts of published reports, conference papers, books and journal articles from 1972 to date. The database also contains detailed information on research in progress in the UK and also in many other countries. As the key source of information on published material on road safety in African countries, the team undertook a computer search of all the information held on the TRL databases.

The TRL Library also participates in the OECD International Road Research Documentation scheme (IRRD) and has access to road and traffic information from a wide range of countries. In addition, the library has access to other external databases of published information which enabled to team to undertake additional library searches on a range of topics, all relating to road safety in Africa.

The team also made direct contact with selected African countries and made use of its own staff currently (or recently) working in African countries as part of their work on road safety in developing countries. Another important source of information were the abstracts and papers produced as part of the recent Third African Road Safety Congress (1997).

2.3 Report Structure

Following the Introduction, Scope of Work and Methodology, Section 3 provides a detailed review of the current situation examining fatality rate and risk in countries for which data were available and, taking under-reporting into account, attempts to estimate the total number of road deaths taking place in the year 2000. It also presents an estimate of the number of road casualties in Africa in the year 2000. The report then reviews recent trends in road deaths and motorisation on a regional basis and how these inter-relate (Section 4). Section 5 highlights some key characteristics of African road crashes and their associated casualties. Section 6 examines accident costs, Section 7 presents a summary of the literature review and Section 8 provides a summary of findings. The literature review and the contacts database are included in the appendices.