The Malta Sociological Association (MSA) welcomed the public consultation on transport safety in Malta, comprising a proposal for the setting up of a Transport Safety Investigation Commission.
In its feedback to the Ministry for Transport, Infrastructure and Capital Projects, MSA said
MSA believes that social-scientific tools should be used to explore, analyse and acknowledge various dimensions of transport safety. This includes ongoing social impact assessments to inform evidence-based policy making. Recommended applicable standards for SIA include those of the International Association for Impact Assessment.
The MSA emphasizes the importance of safe and accessible pavements and the implementation of standards in this regard. We are drawing attention that so far the public consultation document mentions pedestrians as vulnerable road users in a footnote once. The communication could propose a bureau which will be responsible for ensuring safety of pedestrians (as in transport on foot), having the responsibility to review the suitability of pedestrian infrastructure (pavements, street crossings, street lighting etc), and ensuring accessibility of pedestrian areas (that these are free from encroachment of vehicles - such as scooters and parked cars/motorcycles, private sector interests, addressing effect of bins on pavements etc).
The MSA is also proposing that the Transport Safety Commission should include representatives from related disciplines in academia, civil society, local/regional authorities and related professions.
Finally, the MSA is referring to social-scientific research carried out by Kimberly Nicholas and Pauld Kuss at the Lund University for Sustainability Studies and published in ‘Case Studies on ‘Transport Policy’, which measures the effect of various initiatives to reduce urban car use whilst improving quality of life and people’s sustainable mobility.
Their study analyses 800 peer-reviewed studies throughout Europe published since 2010, and it consequently ranks the 12 most effective measures that European cities have introduced in recent decades, The main conclusion of the research is that to “improve health outcomes, meet climate targets and create more liveable cities, reducing car use should be an urgent priority”.
The study recommends the 12 best ways to reduce city car use, namely Congestion charges; Parking and traffic controls; Limited traffic zones; Mobility services for commuters; Workplace parking charges; Workplace travel planning; University travel planning; Mobility services for universities; Car sharing; School travel planning; Personalised travel plans; and Apps for sustainable mobility. One can access more details on each policy through the respective article, which is available online. A summary of the study can be found at: https://theconversation.